Preemie birth preventive spikes from $10 to $1,500
AP Medical Writer Mike Stobbe – Mar 10 2011
A drug for high-risk pregnant women has cost about $10 to $20 per injection. Next week, the price shoots up to $1,500 a dose, meaning the total cost during a pregnancy could be as much as $30,000.
But recently, KV Pharmaceutical of suburban St.Louis won government approval to exclusively sell the drug, known as Makena (Mah-KEE’-Nah).
“That’s a huge increase for something that can’t be costing them that much to make. For crying out loud, this is about making money,” said Dr. Roger Snow, deputy medical director for Massachusetts’ Medicaid program.
“I’ve never seen anything as outrageous as this,” said Dr. Arnold Cohen, an obstetrician at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia.
Doctors say the price hike may deter low-income women from getting the drug, leading to more premature births. And it will certainly be a huge financial burden for health insurance companies and government programs that have been paying for it.
The cost of care for a preemie is estimated at $51,000 in the first year alone.
Aetna will continue to pay for the drug, Armstrong said, but it will be an expensive pill to swallow. Aetna currently covers it for about 1,000 women a year, so the new federal endorsement is likely to cost an estimated $30 million more annually.
Ther-Rx and its parent company became involved about three years ago and acquired rights to the drug from a Massachusetts company named Hologic Inc., said Divis, who is also Ther-Rx’s president.
… That designation ensures Ther-Rx will be the sole source of the drug for seven years.
Some doctors said they were happy getting the cheaper version from compounding pharmacies, and Aetna’s Armstrong said she was unaware of any quality concerns.
Not that they have a choice: Last month, KV sent cease-and-desist letters to compounding pharmacies, …
Obamacare working as intended....:mad: