Rockville, Maryland - February 26, 2016: Heather Case, RN, prepares an expensive vial of Velcade at Maryland Oncology Hematology office in Rockville, Md., Friday February 26, 2016. One vial of Velcade holds 3.5 mg of powder. An unopened vial holds 3.5 mg of powder. When prepared, Velcade is a liquid drug. The patient receiving this dose only needs 1.3 mg. The remaining amount will be thrown away.
Takeda Pharmaceuticals only sells Velcade, a drug to treat multiple myeloma and lymphoma, in the United States in 3.5 mg vials, which has enough medicine for one day’s treatment for a 6-foot, 6-inch person weighing 290 pounds. If a patient is smaller, much of the powder is put in the trash.
Pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. sell extra large doses and make big profits on the medical waste.
CREDIT: Matt Roth for The New York Times
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