Ending the pandemic will require big pharma to put ethics before profits

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To stop the virus will require everyone getting a vaccine, no matter the cost. As COVID-19 surges in the United States and worldwide, even the richest and best-insured Americans understand, possibly for the first time, what it’s like not to have the medicines they need to survive if they get sick. There is no coronavirus vaccine, and the best-known treatment, remdesivir, only reduces hospital recovery time by 30% and only for patients with certain forms of the disease. Read Full Story

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The COVID-19 drug remdesivir costs as much as $3,120 per patient, but the government could change that

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Two attorneys general say that because the government funded the drug’s development, it needs to be more readily available. Remdesivir, a drug that can help patients with severe cases of COVID-19 recover faster, likely doesn’t cost much to make. Gilead, the drug company that produces it, hasn’t disclosed the cost—though one study in the Journal of Virus Eradication suggests that producing one day’s supply costs as little as 93 cents. A full course of treatment might cost around $6 to make. Gilead, on the other hand, charges governments $2,340 for a five-day course. Private insurers pay $3,120. Read Full Story

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Why patients have begun to lead the way in the fight against rare diseases

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There are hundreds of millions of rare disease patients, half of them children, whose conditions aren’t getting enough funding for research and treatment. But by banding together, the patients are changing how the medical community responds to their diseases. Several years ago, I was working in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where I had the privilege of helping lead the effort to develop President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative—an effort that aimed to catalyze a new era of medicine where patients receive the right treatments at the right time. Read Full Story

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Yale students 3D-print a cheap device for relieving the ventilator shortage

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Ventilators are in astonishingly short supply. This $250 device allows two patients to share the same ventilator. Ventilators are in short supply all over the world, from the United States to Africa . One concern is that this will lead desperate hospital workers to hook up multiple patients to one jury-rigged ventilator, which can be dangerous , even if it may be better than no treatment at all. Read Full Story

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We’re botching the vaccine rollout. Here’s how to get it back on track

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States have 15 million doses. They’ve only given out 4.5 million. This is the series of cascading failures that have taken the country to the point that vaccines may expire before we can give them out. As COVID-19 cases in the U.S. continue to surge—with 2,000 to 3,000 Americans dying every day and the situation in Los Angeles so dire that ambulance drivers are being told to leave patients with little chance of survival at home to save space at overwhelmed hospitals—millions of doses of vaccines are still sitting on shelves. Read Full Story

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