Public spotlight keeps falling on costly drugs, dubious ‘stem cell’ treatments

repatha®-evolocumab-product-shot-5-HR-300x189With all the public attention now focused on soaring drug costs, Big Pharma just can’t seem to stay out of the spotlight. Drug makers are keeping up their eyebrow-raising actions, as are purveyors of so-called “stem cell” treatments, and it’s worth noting some of what’s happening with these:

Will insurers, MDs, patients pay for $14,000-a-year cholesterol fighting drug?

Company off-loads $89,000-a-year drug to treat rare disease

  • What happens if you’re a drug maker and the public, regulators, and lawmakers turn up the heat when you take an existing medication costing $1,000 annually, convince product overseers it’s an “orphan drug” that can be used to care for a rare condition, and then you jack up the price to $89,000 a year? Marathon Pharmaceuticals decided the better part of valor was to dump Emflaza, its Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug to PTC Therapeutics, a South Plainfield, N.J., company, for $140 million in cash and stock, the Chicago Tribune and others have reported. The paper reported that “Marathon also will receive payments from PTC based on sales of … Emflaza, starting in 2018. Additionally, Marathon may receive a one-time $50 million payment if the drug reaches a sales-based milestone.” PTC, which has other medications already for Duchenne’s, hasn’t said what it plans to charge for the drug. Duchene’s is an inherited condition that afflicts 1 in 3,600 boys, and because it worsens rapidly, few survive into their 20s. Questions have arisen about Emflaza and its effectiveness with Duchene’s. Marathon planned to charge $89,000 annually for what had been known as Deflazcort, a simple steroid. It has been on the market for decades, and is sold overseas for as little as $1 per dose. But Marathon acquired rights to the drug, pushed a small study that showed it appeared to boost Duchene’s patients strengths, and, renamed it Emflaza. It then won designation for it as an exclusive therapy for a rare pediatric disorder, making it exceedingly more valuable.

Valeant_4_Color-300x47Hedge fund takes haircut over investment in drug firm that jacked up prices

More outrage over dubious treatments with so-called ‘stem cells’

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