This is what Lundbeck say..We have taken upon ourselves the task of improving quality of life for persons with a psychiatric or neurological disorder, and we are working intensely to find and develop new and improved drugs. We believe that we can make a significant difference, and we are happy to do so in cooperation withothers.This is what Lundbeck do…
Maxwell s.Kennerly, esquire (The tales and tribulations of a philadelpia layer)
Posted on October 1, 2010 by Maxwell Kennerly
Those are the charming words of a vice president at Lundbeck, Inc., which claims to be “committed to providing innovative therapies that fulfill unmet medical needs of people with severe, and often rare, diseases for which few, if any, effective treatments are available.”
By “these,” he was, by way of an email to others at the company, referring to a small group of pharmaceutical drugs the rights to which Lundbeck was in the process of acquiring from Merck, including Indocin IV. Indocin IV was, at that time, the primary pharmaceutical treatment for patent ductus arteriosus, in which the shunt that connects a baby’s pulmonary artery to his or her aortic arch fails to close after birth. PDA is mostly found in very premature babies.
Ever seen a two pound preemie that can’t get enough oxygen hold out for a better deal? The vice president at Lundbeck hadn’t either, so Lundbeck came up with a plan: once they had the rights to Indocin IV, they would increase the price of each treatment course from $78 to $1,500.
Lundbeck didn’t actually do anything to earn themselves a twenty-fold raise, they just bought themselves a monopoly on the unmet medical need of certain people with a severe disease for which few other effective treatments were available. That’s their “commitment.”
It gets better.
Lundbeck learned that two other companies, Farmacon-IL and Abbott Laboratories, had developed a competitor to Indocin IV, called NeoProfen, which could also treat PDA. Abbott Laboratories forecast NeoProfen could be sold for $450-500 per treatment course.
So Lundbeck bought the rights to NeoProfen, too. Once the FDA approved it, Lundbeck sold NeoProfen for $1450 per treatment course.
Despite preening over “innovation,” Lundbeck invented nothing at all to treat the “severe disease” of PDA. Instead, Lundbeck bought the primary treatment and made it twenty times more expensive, then bought the drug’s new competitor and made the new drug three times more expensive than even its inventors thought it could be.