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Test-Achats files complaint against makers of €88,000 medicine

10:05 24/07/2019

Belgian consumer rights watchdog Test-Achats has filed a legal complaint against the manufacturer of a drug sold in Belgium for €88,300 per bottle.

Spinraza is the only treatment in the world against Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a rare disease which affects mainly children and substantially reduces their life expectancy.

Every year in Belgium, on average, 12 new patients are diagnosed. Worldwide, more than 7,500 people have been treated with Spinraza over the past six years, allowing them to sit without support and, in most cases, walk independently.

Test-Achats is taking action because a course of Spinraza costs €529,800 in the first year and €264,900 in subsequent years.

"Our investigation based on the financial reports of [manufacturers] Biogen and Ionis reveals a gap of almost $2bn between development costs and revenues," a Test-Achats spokeswoman said.

"In two years, sales of Spinraza reached $2.61bn for an investment of $648m. Every dollar invested has brought in four times more. And that will continue many years if we do nothing.

"What's more, the fundamental research carried out to develop this new molecule took place in a university environment, thus largely financed by public funds."

Written by The Bulletin


Frank Lee

For every medicine that makes it to the market, there are countless attempts at developing and testing other potential ones that never do. So, if Biogen and Ionis are selling a drug at 4 times the price it cost them to develop it, it's because they need to be able to risk taking a big loss when the research proves inconclusive. By suing drugmakers, TA effectively discourages them to start research on some needed medicines.
Oh, and, by the way, is TA aware of the profit margins in the clothing industry? Clothes are sold at 400% of their cost, and nobody seems to mind.

Jul 24, 2019 14:58

That is obscene.

Jul 25, 2019 11:41