Manufacturing costs play a role in pricing decisions, although a small one. Avastin belongs to a category of drugs called biologics, which are large molecules that usually have to be manufactured by DNA manipulation. Biologics cost more to make than traditional drugs, which usually are generated through cheaper chemical reactions. Still, manufacturing costs normally don't exceed a few percentage points of sales revenue.
The cost of manufacturing pharmaceuticals is often a small percentage of sales which is why they can be so profitable for their makers even though an extensive amount of money is often spent on promoting patented drugs. Mr. Palmer also dredges out this excuse:
You hear a lot about how expensive it is to bring a drug to market.
Credit, however, goes to Mr. Palmer for at least emphasizing the lack of competition for certain drugs. It is true that this sector incurs substantial R&D expenses and the risk that the R&D may generate several dry holes. But do we really need a patent system in order to discover new treatments?