Premature birth affects 1 in 8 pregnancies — some 543,000 annual births — resulting in intensive care and often lifelong disabilities in the child. That’s why so many women have been prescribed a form of progesterone for decades. It helps..
But now that the FDA has approved a branded version of progesterone, the cost of the drug used to prevent premature birth in high-risk mothers will rise from around $10 per dose to $1,500.
Up until now the generic form of progesterone has been made by specialty drug stores known as compounding pharmacies. Therein lies the problem. KV Pharmaceutical Company, maker of the new drug called Makena, has warned those compounding pharmacies that they face legal action if they continue to sell nonbranded versions of the drug.
So KV has the market on Makena and is responsible for jacking the price up to $1,500 a dose. Just another case of a pharmacy company, in conjunction with the government, virtually raping the American consumer. The new price means the drug could cost mothers hoping to save their babies up to $30,000 per pregnancy. Because premature births affect so many babies it’s responsible for $26 billion a year in medical expenses — a figure KV cites to justify the new price of Makena.
KV’s CEO released a statement saying the company has a patient-assistance program for families in financial need. “We established this comprehensive patient-assistance program as part of our commitment to ensure that all eligible women have access to FDA-approved Makena.” Really, sir? Can you tell me one family that CAN afford the $1,500 for the weekly shot? Your financial aid program is akin to paying for dinner as a way to justify raping your date later.
Many doctors agree, expressing outrage over the price hike of a medicine that’s been used for 40 or 50 years. And since low-income women are at high risk for premature birth, the burden for the cost of the brand Makena is likely to fall on Medicaid, which is already in big trouble.
Soit seems that the big business interests of KV, insurance companies and the government will determine how Makena will affect women’s access to a substance and the resulting prematurity rates which could mean the difference between a normal life or a life filled with medical complications for thousands of babies.