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Sat Dec 29, 2012, 06:59 PM

Drug goes from $50/vial to $28,000/vial. Best Healthcare in the world, Baby! [View all]

By ANDREW POLLACK
Published: December 29, 2012

THE doctor was dumbfounded: a drug that used to cost $50 was now selling for $28,000 for a 5-milliter vial.

The physician, Dr. Ladislas Lazaro IV, remembered occasionally prescribing this anti-inflammatory, named H.P. Acthar Gel, for gout back in the early 1990s. Then the drug seemed to fade from view. Dr. Lazaro had all but forgotten about it, until a sales representative from a company called Questcor Pharmaceuticals appeared at his office and suggested that he try it for various rheumatologic conditions.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Dr. Lazaro, a rheumatologist in Lafayette, La., says of the price increase.

How the price of this drug rose so far, so fast is a story for these troubled times in American health care — a tale of aggressive marketing, questionable medicine and, not least, out-of-control costs. At the center of it is Questcor, which turned the once-obscure Acthar into a hugely profitable wonder drug and itself into one of Wall Street’s highest fliers.

At least until recently, that is. Now some doctors, insurance companies and investors are beginning to have doubts about whether the drug is really any better than much cheaper alternatives. Short-sellers have written scathing criticisms of the company, questioning its marketing tactics and predicting that its shareholders are highly vulnerable.

more
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/30/business/questcor-finds-profit-for-acthar-drug-at-28000-a-vial.html?hpw

Blood. Sucking. Leeches.

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Reply Drug goes from $50/vial to $28,000/vial. Best Healthcare in the world, Baby! [View all]
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