Sunday, October 07, 2007

Big Price Jump

Drug's price up more than $21,000
The hike for H.P. Acthar, which treats a rare childhood disorder, has sparked debate over prescription costs.

There's one drug most doctors turn to first when babies have catastrophic seizures: a natural hormone sold under the name H.P. Acthar. It's the gold standard to stop seizures that can ruin a child's chance for a normal life.
On Aug. 27, the lone maker of that drug raised the price from $1,650 a vial to more than $23,000 a vial, sending the price for an average patient to $100,000 or more.
Experts say it is not uncommon for new drugs, especially for those that treat rare diseases, to cost more than $100,000 a year. The high price is needed, economists say, so the firm can be encouraged to enter the field.

What sets apart Acthar is that it is an old drug. The compound (Adrenocorticotropic hormone) was first synthesized in the 1940s by Armour & Co., the canned-meat firm, which harvested it from pigs' pituitary glands.

The drug, used for years to treat Infantile Spasms, was made by Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Inc. and then by its successor, Aventis. It was never a big seller, and the former owner nearly stopped making it in the mid-1990s - only to see it brought back after a storm of pediatricians complained that there was no substitute.


At 3:36 PM, Blogger Lapa said...

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