Quick hit: Price Gouging on Life-Saving Medicine

Some recent highlights and curiosities from the amazing world of cannabis science and therapeutics.
By Adrian Devitt-Lee On February 22, 2019
Hoarding money

The US is considered to have one of the least efficient medical systems among developed countries. This is particularly apparent when looking at the price of life-saving medications like insulin, the epipen, or the anti-malarial pyrimethamine. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic recently highlighted a case of price gouging on vitamin K1. Vitamin K1 can prevent death when someone accidentally consumes a rat poison like brodifacoum, which has recently been found in some illegal synthetic cannabinoid products. Although veterinary-grade vitamin K1 is sold for $0.61 per 50 mg tablet, the only product legally available to humans are 5 mg tablets costing $70.51 each. This is more than a 1000 fold discrepancy in price. The Mayo clinic doctors describe how initially treating patients for brodifacoum toxicity costs $5,000—$15,000, whereas it ought to be nearly free. As well, the poison remains in the body for months, so patients need ongoing treatment. But many people who use synthetic cannabinoids have limited or no medical coverage, which compounds with the exorbitant price to make life-saving medicine inaccessible.

Short description: 
Adrian Devitt-Lee, a Project CBD contributing writer, is a graduate from Tufts University with a degree in mathematics and chemistry.