"It's not simply about just growing your earnings per share by raising your price," Schleifer says. "So, yes, I'm glad I've been outspoken, because I think that I am trying to prevent what is still at risk of happening: If the industry does not behave properly, the government is going to step in."
Look who's talking. Regeneron, like other biotech firms, spends giant sums to find new cures, and it charges accordingly. Its big seller, the eye drug Eylea, costs $11,000 a year per eye. A newer Regeneron product, Dupixent, treats skin rashes; that one can run $37,000 a year. A cholesterol treatment costs $14,000 a year. Even more insane: These eye-catching prices really are cheap by pharma standards.
In a letter sent to Forbes after this story's original publication, Schleifer wrote that Regeneron believes in "responsible pricing." He points out that Regeneron submitted to external review to come up with a fair price for both Dupixent and its cholesterol treatment. "These were unprecedented steps that set a shining example of how it is possible to make great medical advances and provide those advances at a fair price."
It took Regeneron 24 years to make back the billions investors poured into it. Now it's making good money, $1.2bn last year on sales of $6bn. Wall Street values the company at $37bn.
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