Dexamethasone price has increased 137% in recent months

Dexamethasone, the steroid drug President Donald Trump was recently prescribed to treat COVID-19, has seen a price increase of 137 percent in the last few months, according to nonprofit drug research firm 46brooklyn. 

The price of the steroid spiked from $0.59 per unit to $1.39 per unit and is currently listed in shortage from both the FDA and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists

The price spike is concerning, considering the growing importance of the drug in treating COVID-19, 46brooklyn wrote. A study released in June showed the drug reduced COVID-19 deaths by one-third for those who had been sick for more than a week and were on mechanical ventilators, but had no impact on patients receiving no respiratory support. The drug has a history of dramatic price increases and reductions. 

President Trump was given the steroid Oct. 3 in response to his blood oxygen levels dropping when he was hospitalized for COVID-19. The steroid is usually recommended for hospitalized patients who need oxygen or are on ventilators.

When President Trump promoted hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment in March, it saw a spike in demand and subsequently experienced price increases, according to 46brooklyn. 

Dexamethasone may be less accessible if it sees a similar spike in demand, as 70 percent of dexamethasone is made by Fresenius Kabi. 

Because Fresenius Kabi manufactures most of the supply of the steroid, "we could have a recipe for disaster for the future accessibility and affordability of this crucial treatment if the supply chain does not hold up the same way hydroxychloroquine did," 46brooklyn wrote. 

Find the full report here.

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