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Cover for Capitalizing a Cure

Capitalizing a Cure

How Finance Controls the Price and Value of Medicines

Victor Roy


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Capitalizing a Cure takes readers into the struggle over a medical breakthrough to investigate the power of finance over business, biomedicine, and public health. When curative treatments for hepatitis C launched in 2013, sticker shock over their prices intensified the global debate over access to new medicines. Weaving historical research with insights from political economy and science and technology studies, Victor Roy demystifies an oft-missed dynamic in this debate: the reach of financialized capitalism into how medicines are made, priced, and valued.
Roy’s account moves between public and private labs, Wall Street and corporate board rooms, and public health meetings and health centers to trace the ways in which curative medicines became financial assets dominated by strategies of speculation and extraction at the expense of access and care. Provocative and sobering, this book illuminates the harmful impact of allowing financial markets to determine who heals and who suffers and points to the necessary work of building more equitable futures. 

Praise For Capitalizing a Cure: How Finance Controls the Price and Value of Medicines

"Roy convincingly shows through this example how venture capital, Wall Street, and the industry’s top executives have turned small biotechnology firms and Big Pharma corporations into vehicles for extracting wealth from the health care system, even as these ostensibly health-promoting companies deny access to millions of needy people at home and abroad and undermine the financial well-being of patients and payers."
— Washington Monthly

University of California Press, 9780520388710, 245pp.

Publication Date: January 24, 2023

About the Author

Victor Roy, MD, PhD, is a family physician, sociologist, and a fellow in the National Clinician Scholars Program at Yale University.