Hepatitis C business
On April 23rd, 2014 The New York Times Business Section published on its first page an article about the record sales of the pharmaceutical company Gilead. The earnings for the first quarter was 5 billion dollars, double that of a year ago. About $2.1 billion dollars in the United States alone was attributed to the sales of Sovaldi, Gilead’s new Hepatitis C drug. There are approximately 4 million Americans suffering from Hepatitis C, a disease resulting from a virus adversely affecting the liver which may result in either cirrhosis of the liver and/or liver cancer. Sovaldi is flying off the shelves since its approval by the FDA in December 2013.
What is remarkable in this case is that the medical industry, including hospitals, insurance companies, and other health care facilities have been willing to pay as much as $1,000 a pill for this treatment. What is more astonishing is that money is being spent on a drug, which, according to Dr William E. Golden, Medical Director of Arkansas Medicaid, has relatively little data supporting its safety and effectiveness.
According to The New York Times article, Gilead’s CEO, John F. Milligan, defends the price stating: “First and foremost, the value of a cure, I tend to think is underestimated in terms of the overall advantage that the health care system receives from it”.
Well, I would then think that some alternative, natural approach whose safety has long been documented, and that would properly support the regeneration of the liver, would have even more value to the society.
Indeed, the Greeks already knew that the liver was able to regenerate itself. (Prometheus, for having given fire to mankind, was condemned by Zeus to have his liver devoured by an eagle every day, and his liver would regenerate every night).
Herbs such as Pao pereira have a long safety record and have been used successfully in Europe since the 1980’s for its anti-viral effect, while the benefits of golden Ginkgo has long been associated with support of the liver and, although fairly old, research shows that the botanical extract exhibits anti-fibrosis properties. Finally L-gluthatione is recognized for helping to detoxify the liver and support its regeneration.
As the cost of drugs are skyrocketing, driving up the cost of conventional treatments, chances are that natural alternatives will appear more and more a reasonable, affordable choice.