Healthcare News & Insights

Key drug to prevent preemies to increase from $20/shot to $1,500

The FDA approved a commercial version of a progesterone shot used by women at risk for pre-term birth — but the approval actually makes the drug much harder to get for most patients.

Because there had been no commercial version of the drug, most patients got it made to order from compounding pharmacies. Those companies generally charged about $10 to $20 for each once-a-week dose.

But the FDA has approved a prescription version of the medication, called Makena, made by K-V Pharmaceutical. The company said it plans to charge about $1,500 per dose — but will create a patient assistance plan to ensure that those who need the drug can get it.

K-V will likely be the only provider of the drug. The company has already sent letters to compounding pharmacies warning them of FDA action if they continue to distribute their versions of the drug.

Doctors are roundly condemning the move, claiming that it will drive up insurance costs and bleed more money from already cash-strapped Medicaid programs.

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