Friday, January 06, 2006

Driving Up the Price of Prescription Drugs

Yesterday when I got home, I saw a package on my porch! Genentech and Novartis had mailed a present to me, addressed to my junk mail alias!

I live at the House of Asthma.

Breathing made possible by a Glaxo-Smith-Kline product. A relatively expensive product. Working against the miracles of modern medicine we have the neighbor's cats who are so cute and demanding of attention that sometimes one of them is allowed in the house to emit some Fel d1 into the air.

drugboxSo this brings us to the kind gift that I received from Genentech and Novartis. A promotional box advertising Xolair. This post was intended to be all mocking and righteous indignation, but then I read the patient labeling, and it says that, "Xolair (Omalizumab) is a recombinant DNA-derived humanized IgG1 monoclonal antibody that selectively binds to human immunoglobulin E (IgE)," which is to say that it might actually work! For ten years I've been whining about IgE and finally a product (or rather, an advertisement for one) that acts on IgE lands on my doorstep! Of course the warning, "The observed incidence of malignancy among Xolair-treated patients (0.5%) was numerically higher than among patients in control groups (0.2%)," was slightly alarming. I mean, "Now with 250% of the cancer found with the placebo!" is not a catchy advertising slogan.

But still, details aside, do you see what they sent me? They mailed me a fucking View-Master. The reels are all like, "Ask your doctor if Xolair is right for you!"