Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Enough is Enough

Enough is EnoughA popular drug pregnant women use to prevent premature labor now costs $1,500 a DOSE, up from $10 a dose because KV Pharmaceutical paid $200 million to acquire exclusive rights for seven years to sell the progesterone treatment, which it will market as MAKENA. When asked to reconsider this outrageous price increase, the drug company hired a major Washington lobbying firm.

KV in their attempt to justify the cost said it is still less than the cost of having a premature birth which costs an average of $51,000 in the first year and accounts for $26 billion annually in medical costs. So patients need for this medicine to prevent premature labor is critical to prevent a long term expense for insurance companies and taxpayers. But do you see the irony in this? If the dose now costs $1,500 because of this company, the insurance companies that pay the bill will complain about how high their expenses are and raise all of our rates, without crediting one of their own for causing the problem. I wonder how often this goes on…

You might think this drug company deserves to recoup its research and development cost, however, and here it will really blow your mind, these costs were funded by the National Institutes of Health, which is funded by the taxpayers. Their costs consist of marketing and sending cease and desist letters to pharmacies to prevent them from selling the drug. If they had any other R & D costs, they were minor.

Our laws give drug companies a temporary monopoly to recoup R & D costs as an incentive to develop new drugs. A longer period is granted for Orphan Drugs...an important inducement for small patient groups or rare diseases. But when a company makes limited investments, benefits from taxpayer funded research, then grossly overprices a drug, risking increases in premature births, something is very wrong.

This drug company has declared war on American families and we should return the favor. Although their actions have been condemned by the American Academy of Pediatrics, American college of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and others, maybe we can make a difference too. I am sure this drug company has products that are in competition with other drug companies. Why can't we request our doctors prescribe the same prescription we might use, from another company, whenever possible. A letter to your Congressman and any representative that will listen might also help. I know it takes time but just think of the money coming out of your pocket right now for health insurance. It will just get worse. This has to be looked into and stopped. The insurance companies are increasing their own costs and pocketing it from both ends. Enough is enough.

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