– Carolyn Y. Johnson, “Marathon delays launch of $89,000 drug after lawmakers slam ‘unconscionable’ price hike,” The Los Angeles Times online, Feb. 13, 2017
DRUGS/HEALTHCARE/OBAMACARE(ACA)/PHARMA: “Politicians once again are concerned that a drug company that plans to sell an old medicine at a very high price is taking advantage of the system.
On Monday [2-13-17], Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) sent a letter to the chief executive of Marathon Pharmaceuticals, arguing that the Illinois company is ‘abusing’ government policies that encourage the development of treatments for extremely rare diseases, called orphan diseases.
‘We urge you to significantly lower your price for this drug before it goes on the market next month,’ they wrote. ‘Marathon’s apparent abuse of government-granted exclusivity periods and incentives to sell what should be a widely available drug for $89,000 a year is unconscionable.’
Rare diseases were once thought of as unprofitable niche medicines, but in 1983, the government introduced incentives — including a seven-year monopoly — for treatments for orphan diseases that afflict fewer than 200,000 Americans. That led to a business model that has made orphan drugs a potentially lucrative business opportunity.”