High-priced meds spur dosing debate

What's a drug worth? In the case of Cerezyme, a remedy for a rare inherited enzyme deficiency known as Gaucher disease, the answer is $300,000 a year. But experts are questioning whether lower doses of the med would work as well--besides saving some $200,000 per year per patient.

Pharma companies have faced complaints about prices for years, including accusations that they inflate the required doses to boost sales. When those drugs are super-expensive, like Cerezyme, the debate becomes highly fraught. When a study showed that a half-dose of Genentech's Avastin--which runs $100,000 a year--might be as effective in lung cancer as a full one, some doctors switched. Genentech maintains that doses were set for maximum cancer-fighting.

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