INCORRECT: Acorda deals MS med direct to patients

Editor's Note: Contrary to the Chicago Tribune article this piece was based on, Acorda has informed FiercePharma that the company is not selling directly to patients after all, but through specialty pharmacies.

Acorda Therapeutics is taking a novel approach to selling Ampyra, a treatment for multiple sclerosis. Designed to help MS patients walk, the drug won't be distributed through drugstores or even through doctors' offices. Patients will order it directly from the company.

Yes, Acorda is cutting out the middleman, shipping 30-day supplies of Ampyra, which was made available at the beginning of the month, at $1,056 a pop. To help patients pay, the company will offer the drug to uninsured patients either for free or at a steep discount. Medicare Part D patients may get assistance if they're in the doughnut hole. And insured patients will only have a $40 co-pay. All patients will, of course, have to have a prescription.

It's the sort of approach that makes us scratch our heads: Why don't more drugmakers develop an in-house ordering-and-fulfillment service--or contract out those functions--and reap more cash per every prescription filled?

- get the release from Acorda
- read the Chicago Tribune story