Pricing for anything should be dictated by market forces (e.g. competition, etc.) not government intervention.
Last paragraph is telling.
"The research and development process, especially in the clinical-trial phase, is already highly regulated. This has added significantly to the cost of new drugs. Government oversight and regulation of pharmaceutical budgets and margins would be a catastrophe for innovation."
These are all great comments/insights but I fear there is no reasoning with unchecked unchallenged government. I don't think you can reason with a successful predatory parasite just as a bloated tick doesn't abandon it's host as its host is ailing and dying. New game now and the order of the day is simply stop-us-if-you-can. Not our father's USA.
They want these companies to take all the risk, develop cures like Gilead has, and then sell for breakeven like they're a not-for-profit. Sorry, that's not how the free market works. Without incentive in the form of profits, you wouldn't have the tireless research and innovation leading to drugs like Sovaldi.
There is an editorial comment on today's Wall Street Journal (titled: Beggar-Thy-Neighbor Medicine") saying that if we compared the maintenance cost by using the early treatment therapy , they would cost $97,000, yet they may not eliminate the HCV completely. And compared with the cost of a liver transplant of $580,000, on average, by delaying the Sovaldi treatment, that's a real bargain for the latter.
Also, the rational cost for discovering Sovaldi should be the total cost of all the research activity, including the acquisition cost of PHARMASSET by GILD, PLUS the expenses of all the biotech firms who worked on the same purpose for the cure of HCV infection. Because, if no one worked on it, then Sovaldi may never be found. And, if the reward of finding a successful drug is only for the lucky winner's own cost, then who would invest in such an endeavor, usually with low odds of success?
Now, because of the political ambition to make the Obama Care a success, we are willing to delay the treatment of the HCV carriers by rationing, and actually not saving on the total long term health care expenses. A more important point here is that sooner or later, some the the new drug developers will , based on business profit and tax consideration, eventually move or change the research and manufacturing facilities to the low corporate-tax facilities overseas (tax inversion) and re-import them back to the U. S. for sale. This potential outcome would not only reduce the employment opportunity of high skill technical workers in the U. S. , but also we will become non-competitive in biomedical research and development , but also we could become second rate to other countries in technological advances because even if we could still educate such skilled graduates, they would have to go abroad to get such a job. That would be the death blow to the American world leadership position by "outsourcing" perhaps the last such ingenuity/innovation remaining in technology field of ours.
Just getting tired of the sell off even though I know that eventually this politicking will come to an end and possibly the treatment will get down to. 8 weeks less money and we're not talking about getting 3 or 4 months to live we're talking about getting cured !