Thursday, March 10, 2011

Premies Just Got More Expensive

The cost of Makena, a progesterone type drug, goes up next week. Manufactured by KV Pharmaceuticals, if you want the drug today it is $20 per injection.

Next week it will be $1500.

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.

That's because the drug, a form of progesterone given as a weekly shot, has been made cheaply for years, mixed in special pharmacies that custom-compound treatments that are not federally approved.

Weekly shot.

Add $30,000 to the cost of delivery.


The March of Dimes and many obstetricians supported that because it means quality will be more consistent and it will be easier to get.

None of them anticipated the dramatic price hike

This is what happens when outsiders interfere with health care delivery.

The cost is justified to avoid the mental and physical disabilities that can come with very premature births, said KV Pharmaceutical chief executive Gregory J. Divis Jr. The cost of care for a preemie is estimated at $51,000 in the first year alone.

"Makena can help offset some of those costs," Divis told The Associated Press. "These moms deserve the opportunity to have the benefits of an FDA-approved Makena."

I have no problem with making a reasonable profit but this seems to be ridiculous. On the other hand, winning FDA approval is not cheap and can run in the millions of dollars.

Regardless, someone has to pay the price.

Some of the burden will fall on health insurance companies, which will have to raise premiums or other costs to their other customers. And some will fall on cash-strapped state Medicaid programs, which may be forced to stop paying for the drug or enroll fewer people.

And this comes on the heels of Obamacrap which requires all health insurance policies issued in 2014 and later to cover maternity as any other illness.

Care to guess how much premiums will be impacted because of this?

Ther-Rx, a subsidiary of KV will market the drug, so there is a silver lining of sorts.

The Ther-Rx patient assistance program promises free injections or much reduced prices based on income. Uninsured households making less than $100,000 are eligible for a copay of $20 or less.

So you can pay $20 or $1500 per dose.

Is this nuts or what?

Thanks to Mike W for the tip.
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