Colchicine, a drug primarily used to treat gout, is an old drug. Very old. Extracts from the plant it comes from, colchicum, have been used in gout treatment for thousands of years. In pill form as colchicine, it’s been on the market in the United States since the 19th century and predates the Food and Drug Administration. A few years ago, the company that makes one brand of the drug, Colcrys, obtained FDA approval for their version, and the exclusive rights to sell it in the United States for three years. Who cares? Reader Nick does. He works in retail, isn’t wealthy, and the colchicine he takes twice a day for a serious medical condition shot up in cost from about $20 per month to closer to $400.
By April 1, 2011