A Democratic senator is demanding answers from a pharmaceutical company about why it started charging tens of thousands of dollars for a decades-old drug that was once free.
Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillLobbying world Ex-Rep. Akin dies at 74 Republicans may regret restricting reproductive rights MORE (D-Mo.) on Tuesday sent a letter to the president and CEO of Strongbridge Biopharma asking for detailed information related to the pricing and total gross revenue from the company’s sales of Keveyis, a drug that treats a rare genetic disease called periodic paralysis.
“Patients suffering from periodic paralysis and all other Americans concerned about price spikes for rare-disease treatments do, in fact, deserve an explanation of recent company decisions,” McCaskill wrote.
McCaskill also demanded to know the names of company officials responsible for setting the price of Keveyis, as well as cost estimates and profit projections relating to the current and future price of the drug.
According to a report in The Washington Post, patients suffering from periodic paralysis had been using the drug off-label for years. The drug was originally intended to treat glaucoma, and cost as little as $50 for 100 pills.
It was officially approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat periodic paralysis in 2015, and was sold by a generic drug company called Sun Pharmaceutical for almost $14,000 for 100 pills.
In 2016, after press inquiries about the price, Sun began giving the drug away for free. But Sun sold the rights to Keveyis to Strongbridge, which relaunched the drug in April at a cost of $15,001 for a bottle of 100 pills.