Talk about first hand knowledge.
The Washington Post's Wonkblog recently profiled Randy Hillard.
The Michigan State University psychiatry professor was diagnosed with stage four stomach cancer in 2010, and given less than a year to live.
But, for four years a once-every-three-weeks infusion of Herceptin, a breast cancer drug approved to treat some types of stomach cancer, has kept in him alive – at the tune of $1 million, with about $100,000 of it being paid for himself.
“I can barely afford that, and I’m a doctor,” he told them.
Hillard, however, is also a member of the FDA committee that recently recommended approval of the what could be the U.S' first biosimilar. Biosimilars are basically generic versions of biologics.
“Really, truly, we are betting our lives on these new biosimilars,” Hillard said.
As the blog post points out, the U.S. has had generic versions of drugs for years, making the cost to consumers lower. But, if the FDA takes the committees recommendation and approves the country's first biosimilar, it will open up a whole new category of lower-cost drugs to patients.