Almost a month ago in this space we shared a story about a new drug which had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to prevent premature birth. While it is encouraging that pharmaceutical manufacturers are working on this and that they may be making progress, it was startling to learn that the drug was expected to cost of up to $30,000 over the course of a typical pregnancy.
Now the manufacturer of the drug, known as Makena, has announced that it will be substantially reducing the price per dose of the medication. The injection will now be priced at about $700 per injection this will bring the cost for a full course of treatment of the drug over the term of the pregnancy down to about $7000. While this does represent a significant price drop, it is still exponentially higher than the compounded drugs it is replacing which cost about $300 for the entire course of treatment.
As you may remember, the manufacturer of Makena had warned the compounding pharmacies that have been making the older version for years that if they continued to do so they may face enforcement actions from the FDA. This is despite the fact that many medical professionals agree that the compounded medication is as effective as the newly approved drug.
According to a story from Reuters News federal regulators have announced that they will not in fact take any actions against compounding pharmacies that continue to make the traditional formulation.
While new pharmaceutical advances are critical to improving medical outcomes for newborn infants, when those improvements are out of the reach of many pregnant women they are much less useful.
Source: Reuters News "KV Pharma cuts price of premature birth drug" Esha Day, April 1, 2011