Bernie Sanders takes aim at drug's $375K price tag

Mackenzie Bean - Print  | 

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., sent a letter to Catalyst Pharmaceuticals Feb. 4, asking why the company is charging $375,000 for a drug that many patients could previously access for free, reports Reuters.

Four things to know:

1. The medication, Firdapse, is used to treat a rare neuromuscular disorder called Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome.

2. In the past, patients could access the drug for free from Jacobus Pharmaceuticals through the FDA's "compassionate use" program. However, Catalyst won FDA approval and exclusive marketing rights for Firdapse in November. A month later, the company announced the drug's list price would be $375,000.

3. Mr. Sanders is asking Catalyst to share the financial and nonfinancial factors that influenced the drug's high list price, including how much it costs to manufacture or purchase the drug.

"Catalyst's decision to set the annual list price at $375,000 is not only a blatant fleecing of American taxpayers, but is also an immoral exploitation of patients who need this medication," he wrote in the letter.

4. Catalyst declined Reuters' request for comment on the letter.

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