Price For Premature Labor Drug Jumps Up 15,000 Percent


Monday, March 21st 2011, 10:58 pm
By: News 9


Dana Hertneky, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Prices for a common drug jumped 15,000 percent nearly overnight and many are saying it's cheating pregnant women.

Makena, a drug used to prevent premature labor, has jumped in price from $10 a dose to $1,500 a dose. A typical 20-week treatment will now cost about $30,000.

Local doctors said the price increase is beyond ridiculous.

"We physicians consider it a travesty," said Dr. Eli Reshef.

He and his colleges are taking on KV Pharmaceutical which recently purchased the rights to distribute the drug and then hiked up the price.

"I'm sure that no person can think of any item in history that has gone up so much in such a short period of time, literally overnight," Reshef said.

Dr. Reshef and four other doctors are sending a letter to OBGYN's advising them to have compounding pharmacies make the drug and to not allow any of KV Pharmaceutical's reps into their offices.

Dr. Reshef is also asking Oklahoma doctors to encourage their patients to write letters to their senators or representatives demanding a congressional investigation of KVP for price gouging.

There is also a Facebook page called "Shame on you, KV Pharmaceutical" that Dr. Reshef encourages everyone to visit and comment on.

"We cannot sit quietly and absorb the huge increase in costs with a straight face without a fight," Reshef said.

On Monday the company issued the following statement:

Ther-Rx Corporation has been carefully listening to all stakeholders following the announcement of the list price for Makena™ (hydroxyprogesterone caproate injection). We recognize the concerns that have been raised regarding the list price, patient access, and potential cost to payors of this important orphan drug. The company already has established a Patient Assistance Program with the goal of ensuring that every woman who is prescribed Makena will be able to access and afford it. However, we have heard clearly from various stakeholders that we need to do more because the cost of therapy remains a significant concern.

Ther-Rx is fundamentally committed to the community of women, children and families whom we serve. We are scheduling meetings with key audiences – including payors and national organizations that are committed to the advancement of obstetric care and infant health. We hope to meet with them at the earliest possible dates to discuss and address all of their concerns. We are committed to working closely with all parties to develop and implement plans that will ensure that this important, FDA-approved product will be covered by the payor community and available to all women who are prescribed Makena at an affordable cost. Visit www.makena.com to learn more.