When you’re in business to sell a product, your main objective is to make money. And to increase your profits as you go.
Nothing wrong with that, right?
But what if you’re selling cures for life-threatening diseases? Then you have a bit of a dilemma…
Because the more product you sell, the fewer customers you have.
But that’s also good, right?
Not according to investment banking giant Goldman Sachs. In fact, they’re advising their biotech company clients to think twice about curing people too quickly, if at all.
Goldman Sachs cautions clients: Cures are bad for business
In an April 10 report entitled “The Genome Revolution”, analysts at Goldman Sachs baldly posed this question to their clients: “Is curing patients a sustainable business model?”
In case you’re reading that again to figure out what it really means, let me help you with a translation: “Will curing people hurt your cash flow?”
Now, this question may very well have been on the minds of Big Pharma executives for a long time. But they’d never ask it aloud. It would be far too insensitive to state outright that keeping people as sick as possible for as long as possible was great for business.
Now, Goldman Sachs has brought that skeleton right out of the closet.
Their report cautions clients that “while this proposition [developing cures] carries tremendous value for patients and society, it could represent a challenge for genome medicine developers looking for sustained cash flow.”
As an example, they cite the case of Gilead Sciences and Hepatitis C.
A deadly disease that’s no longer profitable
Hepatitis C is a viral infection of the liver caused by coming into contact with infected body fluids. At least 3.5 million people in the U.S. live with chronic Hepatitis C, which can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure, cancer and death.
Gilead Sciences is a company that markets treatments for Hepatitis C with cure rates of over 90%. In 2015, their profits from these drugs peaked at $12.5 million, then began to decline as more and more people were cured.
In reference to this ‘problem’ of falling revenues resulting from curing people, Goldman Sachs’s’ report states: “In the case of infectious diseases such as Hepatitis C, curing existing patients also decreases the number of carriers able to transmit the virus to new patients … “
What?! So it’s good if Hepatitis C spreads to more people?
Dr. Milton Packer, an internationally recognized clinical investigator and pioneer in cardiovascular research, said it best:
“When the most important investment banking enterprise in the world wonders whether it is a good idea to support companies that want to develop cures, we truly have reached rock bottom.”
Who really suffers?
You may be wondering how all this affects you if you are, thankfully, not in need of any of these new treatments for things like Hepatitis C or cancer.
Since innovative companies that develop cures have trouble finding financial backing (after all, the drug isn’t going to be profitable), they turn to charging exorbitant prices as a solution.
Most new drugs for cancer and rare diseases are being priced above $400,000 a year per patient. To cover these costs for even a small number of people, insurance companies spend less in other therapeutic areas.
When your insurance company refuses to pay for a high-quality treatment for, say, diabetes, or for the drug you need because the lower-tier drug makes you ill, chances are they’re covering their costs for those skyrocketing prices.
Is there anything you can do?
Clearly, we don’t have influence over large pharmaceutical companies. The one thing you can do to protect yourself from all this is to have good communication with your own doctor. That way, if you have trouble getting covered for a high-quality medication, your doctor may be more willing to go to bat for you.
You might also consider the advice of my colleague, Margaret Cantwell, who suggests, “The next time you read one of those self-righteous articles or news stories telling you nothing good comes from taking supplements, consider the source — and question their motives and the research. Keeping you sick and coming back for more keeps big pharma in business. Preventing illness yourself will put them out of business. And that’s what they are afraid of. And exactly why more and more people are choosing an alternative healthcare plan.”
Editor’s note: For many, the admissions revealed above will be an eye opener… just like Dr. Cutler’s blockbuster: Surviving Cancer: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Causes, Treatments and Big Business Behind Medicine’s Most Frightening Diagnosis! From the very first page of this comprehensive guide, you’ll find new ways to cancer-proof your life so you’ll never be at the mercy of the greedy healthcare system. Click here for a preview!
- “Is curing patients a sustainable business model?” Goldman Sachs analysts ask — Ars Technica
- It’s Official! Curing Patients Is Bad for Business — MedPage Today