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KV Pharmaceuticals Wins The Future:

Preventing preterm births just got 150 times more expensive, now that KV Pharmaceuticals has gained exclusive rights to produce a progesterone shot used to prevent premature births in high-risk mothers.

Although the shot has been available in unregulated form from specialty compounding pharmacies for years for $10 a pop, the Food and Drug Administration recently granted KV Pharmaceuticals sole rights to produce the drug, which will be marketed as Makena and cost $1,500 per dose

And no, this isn't some new drug that they've spent untold billions researching and bringing to market (for those that reflexively spout corporate line).  They didn't develop it, Squibb did, and Squibb did that back in the 1950s!

Hydroxyprogesterone caproate injections have been around since 1956, and were commercially available up until 1999 when Squibb, the pharmaceutical company making them, withdrew the product from the market. In the past few years however, studies have shown that these injections had a positive effect in preventing pre-term birth among women who had previously had a spontaneous pre-term birth in the past. Since then, doctors have been able to fill prescriptions for the synthetic progesterone using compounding pharmacies at a price of $10 to $15 per injection.

Most health insurances did not cover these shots as they were not FDA approved, but given the low price of progesterone, women were able to pay out of pocket for the treatment, says Moritz.

Gotta love "the free market" and "intellectual property rights" in action!

Originally posted to Hic Rhodus, Hic Salta! on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 06:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Anti-Capitalist Chat, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and German American Friendship Group.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (22+ / 0-)

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." ~Frederick Douglass

    by ActivistGuy on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 06:30:33 PM PDT

  •  I've Seen Objects From Rennaissance Musical (6+ / 0-)

    instruments and Roman hygiene patented for their historic use. Not to mention our genes of course.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 06:32:03 PM PDT

  •  I read about this (7+ / 0-)

    It is criminal, IMHO.

    I am aware of another drug that my doctor wanted me to take in treatment for serious illness but I could not afford it.  It once was a very cheap drug but a pharmaceutical company filed a new patent for it, a method patent, and then they started selling what used to cost about $10/month for about $500/month.  Other countries sell it for about $30/month including shipping halfway around the world, if it was legal to buy it from them.

  •  On a somewhat related note (6+ / 0-)

    On the topic of over-priced medicines - and treatments - I'll offer a personal anecdote.

    My father is now 90 years old and in a nursing home. As a kid though, he spent a lot of time outdoors, in the sun, with no shirt. As a result, he got a lot of basal cell skin cancer spots all over his back - I'm talking dozens of them.

    In general, even though they're technically "cancer", basal cell carcinomas aren't usually considered terribly serious - like, say, melanoma.

    However if untreated, they grow, get irritated, bleed and itch - and look a bit unsightly - so most people dutifully go to their doctor to have them surgically removed and it ain't cheap.

    There was a physician posting here not long ago who mentioned how important the revenue from these procedures was to his practice. Lots of people have them and each spot can cost hundreds of dollars to remove via various procedures that go from simply cutting them out to burning them with lasers - and even then, there's no guarantee they won't come back.

    Anyhoo... back in the 80's (ahh, remember them?) a doctor gave my dad his first prescription for a medication called Efudex. It's a cream that comes in a tube and you apply it to the spot over a period of a couple of months and they disappear.

    Efudex has a success rate of over 90%. It costs - without insurance - about $50-$60 for a tube that contains enough to remove, well.... lots and lots of these spots.

    When I noticed a rather large "mole" growing on my back, I asked a dermatologist about Efudex and he laughed at me. He said something about the stuff just "burns it off" - which is exactly what he wanted to do to mine, only with a laser, which would've set me back about $400 at the time, which I didn't have, so I declined.

    I went home and found my dad's latest script to Efudex - still unopened and not yet expired. So I used it according to directions. (It's only available by prescription and yes, I know I'm technically not supposed to do that) By the way, Efudex doesn't just "burn" off the lesion; it's a form of chemotherapy and directly interferes with the RNA in cancer cells, leaving normal cells alone.

    This thing on my back was about the size of a penny. But the dermatologist I'd seen had already biopsied it, so I knew what it was. I used the Efudex and in 2 months it was gone. That was about 2 years ago and it's never come back. (And no, I have zero stake in whoever owns the stuff)

    Anyway, my point is that, in the US, medicine is seen as a profit center and not only are there medications - like the one in this diary - that are grossly overpriced, but there are some procedures performed that could be just as effectively treated with medication that is relatively inexpensive.

    Our system is very, very screwed up.

    This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around!

    by Snud on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:10:27 PM PDT

  •  Standing still (4+ / 0-)

    There more I read about what goes on in the world and this country the more radical I seem to be.But I could swear I'm standing still.

    Stand with anybody that stands RIGHT. Stand with him while he is right and PART with him when he goes wrong.-Abraham Lincoln

    by MasterfullyInept on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:10:56 PM PDT

  •  Buy-off the government, win the future. Whoo-Hoo! (6+ / 0-)

    At least we’re seeing real-life examples of the ‘future-winning’.

  •  this has been diaried a couple of times (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ActivistGuy, antirove, NY brit expat

    progesterone is available as a generic and notwithstanding KVs threats to compounding pharmacies it is not at all clear they can push them out of the business.  For details see my earlier comments here

    Scientific Materialism debunked here

    by wilderness voice on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:23:19 PM PDT

  •  Gotta withold judgement. (0+ / 0-)

    Especially about parenteral products and compounding pharmacies.

    The hazard created by such pharmacies for injectable drugs reaches level of greater damage to patients than some of the more egregious cases of drugs rushed to market that have been highlighted here.  Compounding pharmacies rarely meet even the most rudimentary standards needed to demonstrate sterility assurance, potency specifications, stability, and freedom from particulate hazard.

    In fact, there are prefilled parenteral products that the FDA has gone to generics manufacturers and requested support for manufacturing precisely because of the hazard created by compounding pharmacies.

    Sure sounds like you know little of pharmaceutical manufacture, CGMP, and parenteral dose safety.  Learn a little before you impute the wrong motives for eliminating the ability of undereducated pharmacists to compound parenteral drugs.

    Distrust of authority should be the first civic duty. - Norman Douglas

    by Fossil on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:40:25 PM PDT

  •  Great title (0+ / 0-)

    It's not only ironic, it's true.

  •  This diary from Sat. also informs on the issue (0+ / 0-)

    It's good that this is getting attention over time.

    "Go well through life"-Me (As far as I know)

    by MTmofo on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 08:12:45 PM PDT

  •  Larger problem (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    goinsouth, Picot verde, NY brit expat

    There are lots of examples of old cheap drugs being repackaged to put a patent on them and jack the price.

    They combine the old drug with another old drug or a cheap OTC substance, put a patent on it and ta-da you have a $100 drug they the companies push doctors to prescribe. In most cases people are lucky and the old cheap generic is still there. In some not so much.

    There is a very active push to kill off all forms of natural thyroid medication. Dessicated pork thyroid has been around forever. There is a push underway to either do drug trials or just ban the use of these old drugs. Many people only respond well on pork based thyroid drugs and actually are made worse on synthetic thyroid drugs. But drug companies see this old drug as competition. Since it is gaining ground with many thyroid patients as a better option than synthetics the drug companies, mainly Abbott want it gone. This would leave thousands of people without a usable alternative.

    The FDA push to remove older drugs from the market should be very concerning for everyone. They are killing off old reliable and safe medications. What will be left is the new crop of not only expensive but very unsafe drugs that have been brought to market in the last 10 years. Many with horrific side effects.

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