Thursday, December 18, 2008
Pharma Price Gouging
Just when I thought I could not take any more outrageous greed!
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has brought a lawsuit against Ovation Pharmaceuticals that charges the company of illegally raising the price for the only drug that treats heart defects in newborn babies.
Ovation acquired the rights to NeoProfen, the only competitor to its own drug, Indocin, in January 2006. Once they owned the only two drugs that could treat a life-threatening congenital heart defect, they proceeded to raise the prices for both drugs, which forced hospitals to "pay Ovation's monopoly price", the FTC said.
Prior to the acquisition, Indocin (an anti-inflammatory drug that has been around for decades), cost $36 a vial. Ovation raised the price for both drugs to $500/vial, an increase of over 1000%. Over 30,000 premature babies are treated for patent ductus arteriosis defects a year and the only alternative to these medications is surgery.
This type of price gouging and greed needs to be halted in its tracks. I can't imagine what defense Ovation will propose. It looks pretty clear that they purchased their only competitor and blackmailed the medical community into paying the price.
We can't legislate morality, but at least the FTC is calling it illegal!
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 1:46 PM