This article was published in City A.M. on 1st May 2019
The price of technological innovations in health care has once again been brought into focus. Orkambi, a new pharmaceutical treatment for a specific type of cystic fibrosis has not been approved for availability on the NHS because its price is deemed too high.
Meanwhile, there is panic at the relentless rise of fatal antibiotic-resistant infections in hospitals for which no treatment is available.
Pharmaceutical companies are reticent to invest in such research, because any drug would be reserved as a treatment of last resort. The price would therefore have to be very high for it to make commercial sense, potentially leading to the sort of backlash seen with Orkambi.
We are at an impasse that has been coming for the last 30 years at least. And it is difficult to envision a way out…