With the COVID vaccine on the horizon, people have been a little wary of its prices. Hopefully, it is affordable, if not free for most of the masses. Because we have had a history of life-saving drugs being so expensive that most common people can’t even afford them. Case in point:
1. Zolgensma – $2,125,000 / Rs 15,63,92,350
Since getting FDA approval in May 2019, Zolgensma has been the most expensive drug in the world with a price tag of $2.1 million. Despite its very expensive price tag, it can cure a formerly incurable disease. It treats spinal muscular atrophy, a childhood disorder that causes muscular erosion that can lead to lung infections and muscle weakness. It’s a one-time therapy and children who have been administered with this have shown no further signs of the disease.
2. Luxturna – $850,000 / Rs 6,25,56,940
This is not an over-the-counter drug that can be administered at home. Luxturna is a gene therapy drug that is used to treat a genetic form of retinal dystrophy, a condition causing vision loss to complete blindness. Patients only need one dose of the medicine but a single vial can cost up to $425,000.
3. Zokinvy – $86,040/ Rs 63,32,234
While it doesn’t seem as expensive as its predecessors on the list, you must understand that this is a prescription drug. It treats a rare disease, the Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, a rare genetic disease that causes premature aging. It’s the only drug available in the market to treat this disease for there is no cure. The usage depends on the body surface area, so the price tag can go significantly higher, depending on the dosage.
4. Myalept – $855,678 / Rs 7,03,34,460
This is one of the few drugs that are available in a pharmacy. It’s used to treat leptin deficiency in patients with generalized lipodystrophy, a condition that causes abnormal fat distribution in the body. A monthly supply of the medicine can set you back by over $70,000.
5. Folotyn – $793,870/ Rs 5,84,25,974
Folotyn is used for the treatment of T-cell lymphoma, a rare form of fatal blood cancer. Patients are typically prescribed 45 vials of the drug annually. Due to its very expensive price tag, there have been some questions about its efficacy.
6. Brineura – $716,040 / Rs 5,26,97,966
Brineura treats a Batten disease called late infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis type 2 (CLN2). It’s a neurological disorder. Brineura helps treat the loss of walking for kids over the age of 3.
7. Soliris – $678,392 / Rs 4,99,27,209
Mind you, this is only the price of the meds in a calendar year. It costs more the longer you use it. It treats paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome, blood disorders that result in the destruction of red blood cells.
8. Blincyto – $672,968 / Rs 4,95,28,022
Blincyto is used to treat a rare form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. And only a registered medical professional can register the drug, which makes it even more expensive. Patients need to be on different amounts of medications throughout the year and typically need up to 168 vials during this time period.
9. Ravicti – $664,092 / Rs 4,88,74,780
Ravicti is used to treat urea cycle disorders, which are genetic conditions causing high levels of ammonia in the blood. If left untreated, they can lead to coma and death.
10. Lumizyme – $643,243 / Rs 4,73,40,369
This is used for the treatment of Pompe disease, a genetic disorder that affects the liver, heart, and other muscles due to a complex buildup of sugars in the body. The drug is not available in pharmacies which makes it even more expensive.
The point of this article is not to give you a ‘wow’ factor. It is meant to shock you. Because medicines, life-saving medicines should not be so elusive and expensive that only the richest of the rich can afford them.