Quiz of the day

Dr. Chhavi Gupta

Quiz of the day.

What is the average  cost of a drug used to treat Multiple Sclerosis today in 2015 if its cost was around $10,000 in 1995 

a) $4,000

b) $12,000

c) $40,000

d) $60,000


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Answer: d) $60,000

When initial Disease modifying treatments for MS came out in 1993, the prices of these agents were set high to account for the research that went into their development. Avonex, Betaseron and Copaxone annual injectable drug costs were $9000, $11,000, $8000 approximately respectively. Newer agents including Rebif, and oral agents such as Tecfidera, Aubagio and Fingolimod came out over the last several years adding competition. The prices of the previous agents Avonex, Betaseron, Copaxone including its generic version prices jumped to match the newer agents and are now $62,000, $61,000, $ $59,000 respectively, for unclear reasons. The pharmaceutical companies are allowed to adjust prices according to market conditions and are immune from negotiations by US medicare and Medicaid. Comparative costs  negotiated by the federal VA system allows the prices however, to remain at the 1995 level for the VA system.  A food for thought and a call for action in a country burdened by health costs...(editorial in Neurology 2015)



Previous Questions.

3) What is the cost of development of a new drug by a pharmaceutical company ?


  1. $50 million

  2. $800 million

  3. $1.2 billion

  4. $ 2.6 billion


Answer : d) $ 2.6 billion

A recent article in NEJM May 2015 brought this into perspective. The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development released information that it costs pharmaceutical companies an estimated $2.6 billion dollar to develop and bring to market a new drug. This includes the cost for failed drugs that never made it to the market. The estimate is up from the previous $802 million dollars in 2003. The costs suggest why some newer drugs are so expensive. No wonder that two of the drug manufacturers (Pfizer $69 billion and Merck $ 57 billion) account for the third and fourth positions amongst US firms with the highest amount of profit overseas. 

Given that the Tufts center is also supported by major drug companies the data should be taken with a pinch of salt and then a gulp of water to help swallow the $2.6 billion pill….



2) What is considered Hypertension stage 1

a) <120/80

b) 120-130/80-85

c) >130/85

Answer: c

Normal BP is < 120/80

Prehypertension is <130/85

Hypertension stage 1 is when BP > 130/85

Tip: Monitor your BP several times a day with an automated BP machine before having it checked by your PCP to verify if your machine is working the way it should. 

1) How much of our bodies are water content ?

a) 30-40%

b) 50-60%

c) >75%

Answer: b

In men 60% of body weight is due to water content. In women 55% of body weight is water content.

Tip: Keep yourself well hydrated. Heat and exhaustion can deplete body water and lead to hyperthermia and health concerns.


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