• Question: what is the most expensive medicine ?

    Asked by tkhan to Aggelos, Andrew, Eileen, Naomi, Shane on 19 Nov 2012.
    • Photo: Andrew Jackson

      Andrew Jackson answered on 19 Nov 2012:

      hi tkhan. to be honest i have absolutely no idea. Its also not easy to find the price of many medicines on the internet as the companies dont publish them. I would imagine that some of the very new immunology drugs or gene therapies are very expensive indeed. sorry, i cant help on this any more than that.

    • Photo: Eileen Diskin

      Eileen Diskin answered on 20 Nov 2012:

      There is such a huge variety in how much drugs cost. I think that some of the more expensive ones are those for diseases that are really rare, so they’re the ones about which we don’t know very much. Because of this, a lot of research time and effort has to go into finding something that might work – and so these drugs are really expensive. Drugs for really common diseases are a lot cheaper, beacause we’ve been able to do a lot more research on them to find the best kind of medicine.

      For example, the medicine Soliris costs over €300,000 a year. This drug is used to treat a condition called Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, which is when somebody’s red blood cells (the cells that carry oxygen around our body) die during the night. Not many people have this, only around a few thousand in the U.S.A., for example.

      Compare this to Lipitor, a drug used to treat high cholesterol. This one only costs around €1000 a year…and high cholesterol affects tens of millions of people in the U.S.A.