Want to know who makes the most money in the medical field and how?

The Business of Hepatitis C -  a very big pie...

No, no, it's not the doctors for sure and you will know it well by the time you finish reading this post. Don't take me wrong - Doctor, like me, do make good money and do have a luxurious lifestyle (for most doctors) - but it is nothing compared to what pharma industry makes.

I am going to touch upon just one of the many "lucrative diseases" for the pharma industry to make tons of money. Claiming cure for Hepatitis C and profiting out of it - is one of the most profitable avenues for Pharma industry in last decade and its ongoing...(looks like eventually, it will pass Viagra sales - this single drug has $ 2 Billion markets).

All over the USA, you will see Billboards asking you to get checked for Hepatitis C, especially if you are born between 1945 and 1965 (Post world-war time). This is transmitted via IV drug use, Blood transfusion and also sexually.

What happened suddenly? So far no one cared about this specific group of people and now everyone wants to "help" these people. This is because it was considered an incurable disease. But now, there are medicines offering a potential cure.

And yes, one more thing - those born between 1945 and 1965 - they are all more than 65 years old and they all have medicare -so, Government pays for their treatment. I am all for curing diseases and I am happy that the medical science was able to find the "cure" (It's actually not the "cure" as you understand - it is controlling the infection down to a point where it does not cause any problem), but this cure is NOT within the reach of most people - if they have to pay out of pocket.

Here is why -
I am going to list few of the medicines that claim the cure for Hepatitis B with its price for the course :
1. Sovaldi : $ 81,000
2. Harvoni: $ 96,000
3. Daklinza: $ 54,000
4. Mavyret: $ 107,000
5. Zepatier : $ 56,000
6. AbbVie : $ 34,600
7. Olysio : $ 44,800

Now, can you see the money? Most of this courses of Hepatitis C are for 8-12 weeks. Can you make this money in a matter of months? And this from only one patient.

Let me give you a little bit of background about Hepatitis C :
Hepatitis means infection in the liver caused by the virus. There are total 5 types of Hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D, and E. Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is one of the most common chronic liver diseases with 185 Million ( remember this number) people infected worldwide.

Multiply this 185 Million with any of the drug prices from above and see how much money is at stake. And this is NOT the "disease of the west" as such. It is more prevalent in Central and East Asia, North Africa and The Middle East. So, people in these countries, get ready - in next 5 years, you are going to hit with advertisement about Hepatitis C and how to cure it. 

I am not suggesting that people with Hepatitis C should not take the medicine. If they can afford and/or if their insurance covers it, then this can turn out to be a big blessing(although a very expensive blessing), because Hepatitis C can have some grave complications. My goal here was to highlight that unlike the popular belief that doctors make all the money when you go and see the doctor, there are some major players in this industry who makes way more than what doctor makes. Pharma is one and I will talk about other players in future posts. 

But the point is - doctors are NOT the major beneficiary when you get cured/treated. This holds true in the USA and for most diseases.
I am sure the scenario is same all over.

Ever since I got in the medical field in 1986, I have a love-hate relationship with the pharma industry. I use/prescribe the medicines for the living, but at the same time, I am very suspicious of ANY actions pharma industry takes to the point that I almost make it look like a conspiracy.

And who knows, I may be right.... about the conspiracy...






                                          Rakesh Shah, MD,                                                     Atlanta, GA,
                                                                USA.

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