An Old Drug That Cures Rare Disease Gets A New Price At $89,000: Why Is It Worth Its Price?

By Carrie Winters - 13 Feb '17 05:30AM

A drug that has been used to medicate an unusual form of muscular dystrophy outside the United States has been approved by the federal Food and Drug Authority recently.

According to a report, the drug that has been approved to treat muscular dystrophy costs $89,000 per year. This is a steroid called deflazacort. This drug sold overseas costs only $1,200 per year. This drug is effective in treating Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

The same report indicates that deflazacort is sold under the name of Emflaza. This helps the muscles to be stronger and the drug reduces inflammation. This also does not have the same complications that can be experienced in other steroids.

Marathon Pharmaceuticals Chief Financial Officer, Babar Ghias shares that the drug will cost $54,000 a year right after all the deductions have been applied. The company has applied for approval of deflazacort as an orphan drug.

The orphan designation of the drug enables the company to distribute this drug exclusively for seven years in the United States. Marathon further notes that there are only 7 to 9 percent of patients who have access to deflazacort.

Meanwhile, Marathon notes that the high price of deflazacort can be justified because the company also shelled out more money to have the drug available. The Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a rare disease that is incurable. It is mostly affecting male patients and can be a cause of death even at age of 30.

The brand will be sold starting March under the name Emflaza. This is new and may help more in treating the rare muscular dystrophy. The price may be high but there are those who are in need of the drug.

Emflaza is known to be safe and the patient who uses the drug will not experience inflammation caused by other steroids. Though it has been available for many years overseas, this is the first time it has been approved to be sold in the United States.

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