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$89,000 Drug: Marathon Charging $87,800 More Than Rx's Price Overseas

Image: $89,000 Drug: Marathon Charging $87,800 More Than Rx's Price Overseas

Marathon Pharmaceuticals will sell a drug for $89,000 that usually sells for $1,200 overseas. (Christophe Testi/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 10 Feb 2017 03:48 PM

Marathon Pharmaceuticals will charge $89,000 for a decades-old drug the company recently got FDA approval to sell in the United States. The drug currently costs $1,200 overseas.

The drug is called deflazacort, and the Food and Drug Administration approved it Thursday for the first time in the U.S. to treat Duchenne Muscular Distrophy, a virulent but rare form of the disease that affects about 12,000 boys in the country.

The drug was never sold in the U.S. because companies didn’t think it would be profitable enough, The Wall Street Journal reported, but some families have obtained the drug from online pharmacies overseas to help improve muscle strength for boys at least for a while.

The drug was approved as an "orphan drug," which means Marathon will get exclusive rights for seven years to sell the drug in the U.S., The Washington Post reported. Marathon also got a "priority review" voucher for developing the drug, which means it can get one of its future drugs reviewed for approval faster.

It also can sell the priority review to another company for hundreds of millions of dollars, which makes the recent approval much more lucrative. United Theraputics sold a priority review voucher to AbbVie for $350 million in 2015, according to The Washington Post.

The program is meant to encourage companies to develop drugs for rare diseases, but its use for the repurposing of existing drugs seems to some like an abuse of the program, the Post reported.

According to the WSJ, most users of Marathon's new $89,000 drug will not pay a substantial amount out of pocket because of insurance coverage, but many fear the markup will put the drug out of reach for those without insurance and with large co-pays.

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Marathon Pharmaceuticals will charge $89,000 for a decades-old drug the company recently got FDA approval to sell in the United States. The drug currently costs $1,200 overseas.
marathon, 89000, drug
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2017-48-10
Friday, 10 Feb 2017 03:48 PM
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