A new “miracle” drug for the treatment of multiple sclerosis turns out to have been derived from cordyceps mushrooms. The drug is called Gilenya and it’s being sold in the USA by Novartis AG — at the monopolistic price of $4,000 / month per person.
The drug is projected to be a blockbuster seller, with estimates putting it in the top 10 drugs by 2018 when it is expected to reach $5.3 billion in sales. A one-year course of Gilenya costs $48,000.
The drug was discovered by studying compounds used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, a 5,000-year-old medical art form that still out-performs western medicine at every level (cost, safety and effectiveness). Japanese researcher Tetsuro Fujita began studying what he calls “Himalayan fungus” in the 1980’s, and his discovery looks likely to earn Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corp up to $5 billion.
The drug works by selectively suppressing the immune system, preventing the mechanism of muscular sclerosis from attacking the body’s own tissues.
Now that the drug has been approved by the FDA, it is legal to claim that this isolated molecule can treat muscular sclerosis, but it remains illegal to claim that the fungus from which it was derived — cordyceps — can accomplish the same thing.