Rare Disease Report

Marathon to Charge $89000 for Duchenne Drug That Costs $1600 Overseas

FEBRUARY 09, 2017
James Radke
According to a story by the Wall Street Journal, Marathon Pharmaceuticals plans to charge $89,000 annually for its newly approved corticosteroid, deflazacort, for patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Corticosteroids are a staple for boys with Duchenne and until the approval of deflazacort, families would you use off label corticosteroids or buy deflazacort from overseas pharmacies.  And until the approval of deflazacort, the price for it overseas was much lower.
The Wall Street Journal article quoted Christine McSherry, founder of the Jett Foundation, who said she pays $1600 a year for deflazacort from a British online pharmacy but now that the FDA has approved deflazacort for the US, the British pharmacy will no longer ship it to America.
So the approval of deflazacort, a drug that has been around for decades, will now cost 50x higher than it did last week. On the plus side, families such as the McSherry family will no longer have to pay $1600 out of pocket for the corticosteroid. Instead, they will pay a copay to an insurance company who in turn will be paying $89,000 for the drug.
Gotta love the healthcare system.

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