Pharma News

The Nobel Prize for Chemistry went to Researchers in the field of DNA Repair

The scientists Tomas LINDAHL, Paul MODRICH and Aziz SANCAR have been awarded with the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for their work in the field of DNA repair. They discovered and described different repair mechanisms of the DNA.

Tomas LINDAHL showed that the DNA decays continuously during its existence. Consequently he searched and found the base excision repair, an enzyme system, which is cutting out wrong DNA bases and inserts correct ones. Aziz SANCAR described the excision repair of DNA, damaged by UV-light. Paul MODRICH discovered mismatch repair, which is a repair mechanism which is used by the cells after cell replication when there has been a mistake during the doubling of the DNA.
It should be noted that in many cancer cells at least one of these mechanisms is not working or not working sufficiently.

What are the costs of a life?

In 2014, the company Retrophin under his Manager Martin Shkreli bought the rights in the US of the drug THIOLA, for treatment of the genetic disease Cystinurie, and increased the prices from US$1.50 to US$30.00 per tablet. The company fired the manager shortly after the price increase (on the accusation of manipulating share prices). Last month Retrophin went to court against his former manager, and the price of THIOLA was reduced to US$1.80 per tablet.

However, more recently the now investor Martin Shkreli bought the registration of the drug DARAPRIM and increased the price from $US13.50 to US$750.00 per tablet. The drug is needed only by a small number of patients, but it is essential for their survival. In both cases, there is no competing drug in the market, because it is not worthwhile for pharmaceutical companies to develop a drug for a small patient base, and the patients are forced to pay the exorbitant amount of money.

It should be noted that there are other similar although not such extreme cases in the US, for example in regard to CYCLOSERINE.