The New York Times reports on the Access Campaign of Doctors Without Borders to provide the newest Hepatitis C treatment to sufferers in the developing world. Access is asking the World Health Organization to provide subsidized cost access to the new pill form treatment for the disease, sofosbuvir from Gilead Pharmaceuticals. It is also campaigning for the Indian Government to reject Gilead’s efforts to manufacturer sofosbuvir under the Indian patent system for reduced price sale of $2,000 per treatment. In the US, the new drug will be priced at $84,000 per treatment. Access argues even the $2,000 price point will lock too many of the world’s 150,000,000 Hep C suffers out of the market for sofosbuvir.
Also in today’s NY Times is coverage of Arnold Relman’s recent personal medical saga published recently in the New York Review of Books. Relman detailed his complex hospital and rehab treatment for a broken back. The Times focuses on Relman’s new appreciation for nurses in ensuring high quality, personalized care.
Further from the Times earlier this week, another depressingly familiar story of possible data suppression in pharmaceutical development. In this case internal documents from Boehringer Ingelheim, manufacturer of the heavily marketed blood thinner Pradaxa, suggest the firm withheld important data on the drug’s risks from doctors and regulators. More than 1,000 Pradaxa related deaths were reported through 2012, according to the Times.
On the zeitgeist watch, cognitive performance improvement through trancranial Electric Stimulation (tES) is in the news in today’s Wall Street Journal. The Journal reports on work by Oxford’s Roi Cohen Kadosh using tES to improve math performance in adults and children with and without cognitive math impairments. While Dr. Cohen Kadosh cautions that his research is still in the early stages, since the components of a tES device are cheap and readily available, expect neuro-hobbyists to be assembling them in garages, alongside their homemade tDCS devices. Can we expect parents and educators to clamor for these devices they appear more frequently in popular media?