Best way to start the morning.
Not everyone in Northern California is pleased with being a part of the state. Some, like Mark Baird, quoted above, want to break away and create their own state called “Jefferson.”
Photo: Fancine Orr / Los Angeles Times
In December, federal regulators opened a new era in the treatment of a deadly liver virus that infects three to five times more people than HIV.
The agency approved a new class of drugs that can cure most hepatitis C infections in a short period of time and with few side effects.
But at $1,000 a pill — and $84,000 per cure — who will get access to the drug?
Hepatitis researchers call the drug sofosbuvir (brand name Sovaldi) a landmark in the treatment of hepatitis C. More than 90 percent of patients who get the new drug can expect to be cured of the deadly infection.
Curing hepatitis C has been difficult, involving regimens that don’t work as well as the new option and bring harsh side effects.
More than 3 million Americans are infected with hepatitis C, and perhaps 170 million people have the disease worldwide. By comparison, about 1.1 million Americans have HIV, which has infected about 34 million people globally.
The drug company Gilead Sciences Inc. of Foster City, Calif., manufactures sofosbuvir. And some activists are beginning to complain about the company’s decision to charge so much for the drug. “For Gilead, we have outrage, pure and simple,” Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation told Business Wire.
But Gregg Alton, a vice president at Gilead, says the high price is fully justified. “We didn’t really say, ‘We want to charge $1,000 a pill,’ ” Alton says. “We’re just looking at what we think was a fair price for the value that we’re bringing into the health care system and to the patients.”
Illustration: Sofosbuvir (brand names Sovaldi) is a nucleotide analogue that stops hepatitis C replication by binding to the virus’ RNA polymerase (an RNA). The drug was discovered at the pharmaceutical company Pharmasset, which Gilead purchased to develop sofosbuvir. (Illustration by A New Merck: Reviewed blog under a Creative Common license)
“We’re just looking at what we think was a fair price for the value that we’re bringing into the health care system and to the patients.”
…that’s disgusting. Blatantly unconcerned about how many people they could help or how many lives they could change.
The Color Palettes of Nature
In one of his most ambitious book sculptures to date artist Guy Laramée (previously here and here) created an homage to the printed Encyclopedia Britannica by transforming a 24-volume set into a sloping mountainous landscape. Titled Adieu, Laramée says the work was inspired in part by Encyclopedia Britannica’s announcement that after 244 years the would cease printing its iconic multi-volume book sets.
On the last day of the year, it’s worth taking your lunch break to swim in this lovely meditation on time, transformation, death and survival.(via nprbooks)
This year we launched a revamped series of top-notch, longer features online, our so-called “Column One.” Out of the hundreds that have been published, we wanted to pick out some of our favorites before the year’s end.
The south LA student to Cal article… So good. You don’t go to college for grades, you learn life.