This evil practice that keeps repeating itself is proof that Big Pharma is a criminal racket. It no longer needs outside independent research demonstrating a drug’s efficacy to be FDA approved. Currently research is conducted and compiled by the pharmaceutical industry itself to fraudulently show positive results from methodologically flawed drug trials when in reality a drug proves either ill effective at doing what it’s purported to do or downright harmful. Research outcomes only need to show that the drug outperforms a placebo, not other older drugs already available on the market that have proven to be effective at lower cost.
Once big pharma has developed a drug, they can set the price. They have a copyright on what the product is, so no one else can duplicate it. Essentially, they have a monopoly of the market for a certain number of years. For this reason, they might as well put the price very high, even if people cannot afford it. It's unfortunate.
This is another prime example of drug companies over pricing drugs and charging it back to patients for large profits. If a few grams of a drug can be made for $20 then there is no reason the public should be charged a thousand times that. There needs to be more regulation on this.
While there are problems to fix in the pharmaceutical industry, the story of Australian students recreating a drug for much less money does not necessarily illustrate this. The fact that these are students means that certain factors are not being brought into play, such as the salaries of the skilled professionals that it took to create the drug in the first place or to recreate it. They do not have the same overhead (buildings, staffing, technology, etc.) that the actual company does in order to maintain a consistent and safe product.