Neonatal Drug Price Skyrockets, Concerns Parents, Doctors

By Carol Cavazos, CBS 11 News

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A drug to prevent premature births has skyrocketed from $10 dollars a shot to $1,500 a shot.

That’s because a pharmaceutical giant just obtained the exclusive rights to market the formula for the next seven years.

It makes mothers like Kiley Bounds thankful they’re done having children. Bounds’ first son Jaxson was born six weeks premature.

“It was really hard,” Bounds said. “I wasn’t even able to hold him for three days.”

Jaxson spent a month in the Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit.

“We even took him home on a machine. I don’t think any mom should have to take their baby home on a machine,” she added.

That’s why Kiley took a medication to prevent an early pregnancy with her second son Beaux, who was born 11 days ago.

“The experience was totally different. It was great. Being able to bring the baby home and getting to do all the things we didn’t get to do the first time,” Kiley said.

Kiley received a total of 20 shots of the drug that prevents premature pregnancies. Her cost without insurance?

“Right around $10 a shot?” Kiley guessed.

That cost has now shot up to $1,500 a shot now that KV Pharmaceuticals has won exclusive rights to market the drug, a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone. Its brand name is Makena, pronounced mah-keena.

“My first reaction was probably shocked,” said Dr. Stephen Krombach.

Krombach is an OB-GYN at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center. He’s worried about his patients.

“If we’re talking about charging a patient $1,500 a week for 20 weeks, not everybody is going to be able to afford that,” Krombach said.

But some pharmacists said there’s a remedy for this patent and price predicament: Have a Compounding Pharmacy make the medication for you.

“It’s the same product that’s been around for 50 years, ” Lewis Hall said. Hall owns Hall pharmacy.

Hall says it’s OK if he makes less than 24 units a batch. He doesn’t even get orders for more than 24 a month.

“If you go over 24, you’re more into manufacturing than into compounding,” Hall said.

He said he can also make an off brand formula, all in the interest of helping women and doctors deliver healthy, full-term babies.

Doctors said they’re trying to work with the pharmaceutical company to bring down the price.

Meanwhile, KV Pharmaceuticals said they’re committed to making sure every mother who needs the medication will be able to get it and afford it.

And, they say they’ve set up a patient financial assistance program to reduce the out-of-pocket costs for qualified patients.


One Comment

  1. DallasGuy2034 says:

    I believe that this is the true problem of our health care system. A health care plan that doesn’t try to control these outrageous prices is simply doomed to failure. Telling everyone they should have insurance is simply just sticking your head in the sand.

  2. 2sister says:

    That’s just ridiculous. There is no way it should cost that much..

  3. Freedom Fighter says:

    There is a better solution to real health, it’s called alternative medicine. It won’t harm you like a lot of the drugs out there that kill hundreds of thousands of people every year, no thanks to the FDA (Federal Death Administration)……

  4. Carol Boyd says:

    Why does mfg think this gouging is OK? GREED sheer GREED is killing us.

  5. Val Fitzgerald says:

    Some people ask why KV Pharmaceuticals has put a $1,000.00 price tag on a medication that, only yesterday, cost $10.00 a shot. Wait for it…..

    BECAUSE THEY THINK THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH IT!!!! I have a good compounding pharmacist, he’s on Pioneer and Beltline. Gibson’s.

    But truly, KV is not the only pharma company in this country. I bet everything they make is a “me-too” drug. Everyone–Have your doctor boycott the company’s products–enough doctors do that, and they’;\’ll stop the highway robbery.

    Oh heck, THIS is the reason to join the rest of the civilized world and have single-payer insurance! (gov’t paid). Now KV Pharmaceutical’s death panel won’t be able to target your baby for expensive care that they don’t have to need if they’re taken to full term–with the cheap medicine that your doctor can prescribe. Look to Compounding Pharmacies for all your pharmaceutical needs

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