Cost of common heart drug climbs in US after recall

The cost of two dosages of valsartan, an active ingredient used in drugs to control blood pressure and prevent heart failure, more than doubled after  a recall of most of the drug's supply,  Reuters reports.

The FDA issued a nationwide recall of valsartan, manufactured by Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals, in July after a probable human carcinogen, n-nitrosodimethylamine, was found in the products.
Several companies are still selling versions of the drug, including Alembic Pharmaceuticals, Jubilant Pharma and Mylan.

After the recall, prices for 160-milligram and 80-milligram tablets of the drug more than doubled. A 160-milligram valsartan tablet that cost 14 cents in August was about 31 cents in September.

It was not immediately clear which pharmaceutical companies raised their prices. However, a recent report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found it is common for drugmakers  to increase  prices amid shortages.

Eric Pachman, co-founder of healthcare data firm 46brooklyn, told Reuters even short-term price increases for a drug in shortage could affect how much U.S. consumers pay years down the road.

"If the price of valsartan jumps to $2 and then three weeks later it comes back down to 20 cents, there will be consumers somewhere in this country on high-deductible [insurance] plans still paying $2 a pill three years from now," said Mr. Pachman.

Read the full report here.

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