Drug policies aimed at restricting and criminalizing drug use and minor possession have had detrimental effects on the health, wellbeing, and human rights of drug users and the wider public in the past 50 years, according to a new report by The Lancet and Johns Hopkins University in the U.S.
“The goal of prohibiting all use, possession, production, and trafficking of illicit drugs is the basis of many of our national drug laws, but these policies are based on ideas about drug use and drug dependence that are not scientifically grounded,” said Commissioner Dr. Chris Beyrer, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, U.S. “The global ‘war on drugs’ has harmed public health, human rights and development. It’s time for us to rethink our approach to global drug policies, and put scientific evidence and public health at the heart of drug policy discussions.”
Note: Personally, I think it’s a little too early to conclude that Zepatier will have the same fate as the AbbVie’s drug. In fact, this article lists Technivie as the competing drug against Harvoni when in fact it should have listed Viekira Pak. Alan
Leerink’s Geoffrey Porges contends that even the launch of Merck’s (MRK) Zepatier at a 40% discount to Gilead Sciences’ (GILD) Harvoni hasn’t been to dent the biotech giant’s dominance. He explains:
Bottom Line: Gilead HCV Franchise Proves Durable in the Face of Increased Competition. We recently reinitiated coverage of Gilead with an Outperform rating, due in part to the significant cash generation of its HCV franchise, which generated $19bn in sales in 2015, or 59% of total revenue. Over the last 12 months, the HCV landscape has become more crowded with the approvals of three additional direct-acting antiviral (DAA) competitors:Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMY) (OP) Daklinza (7/2015), AbbVie’s (ABBV) Technivie (7/2015), and Merck’s (MP) Zepatier (1/2016). It has been assumed by the Street that Gilead’s HCV revenue will erode as result of further price pressure with share loss – especially given Zepatier’s introduction at a +40% discount relative to Harvoni. However, our current analysis of IMS script data and review of the largest payer plan formularies reveal that Gilead’s HCV DAAs are continuing to dominate the market, with modest share gains for rivals. Seven weeks after the launch of Zepatier, Sovaldi and Harvoni retain a relatively favorable/ position in 65% of the to 20 largest commercial plans and 70% of the top 10 largest government plans relative to AbbVie’s Viekira Pak (20%, 30%, respectively) and Zepatier (0%, 10%).
Fifty years of drug policies aimed at restricting and criminalizing drug use and minor possession have had serious detrimental effects on the health, well being and human rights of drug users and the wider public, according to a major new report by The Lancet and Johns Hopkins University in the US.
The authors of the Johns Hopkins-Lancet Commission on Public Health and International Drug Policy call for non-violent minor drug offenses including use, possession, and petty sale, to be decriminalized. The report provides compelling evidence from countries such as Portugal and the Czech Republic that have decriminalized non-violent minor drug offenses, and seen significant public health benefits, cost savings, and lower incarceration with no significant increase in problematic drug use.
The authors call for an evidence-based approach to drug policy. With the legalization of cannabis in Uruguay and four US states (Washington, Colorado, Oregon, and Alaska), the Commission urges governments considering regulated markets like these to find appropriate ways of evaluating their impact so that lessons can be learned.