The company: Rare Disease Therapeutics
The drug: Anascorp
The target: Scorpion bites
When Marcie Edmonds of Phoenix was stung by a scorpion, she did what many would do in her circumstances. She went to the hospital, where she was hooked up to an IV drip solution of the antivenom drug Anascorp. She got two doses and was later handed a bill for $83,046, according to the New York Daily News. Her portion after the insurer's share: $25,537, for an out-of-network charge she knew nothing about.
Technically, Anascorp isn't a disaster drug launch in the same category as the rest of our sampling. But the wildly varying charges that patients and payers face have made this one of the most bizarre marketing tales in the industry.
Anascorp was approved on the basis of a tiny study with just 15 patients. It's actually been made and used for years in Mexico, where it's marketed by Instituto Bioclon for a mere $100 a vial. Rare Disease Therapeutics reportedly sells it to Accredo Health Group, a specialty pharma, for $3,500 a dose. And hospitals are adding some jaw-dropping markups. The Republic scouted around the area and discovered one hospital chain charging $7,900 per vial, another billing it at $9,077 per vial, and a third charging a whopping $12,467. Marcie Edmonds seems to have scored the new record with $83,046.
Rare Disease's president, Milton Ellis, told a reporter for the Republic that the base price was figured after assuming that they'd sell about 400 doses every year. The study costs and FDA inspection of Mexican facilities had to be factored in. And if its revenue exceeds $50 million, there are user fees to add on. The price formula looks a lot like the one used by K-V, but so far the company has avoided the kind of backlash that tripped K-V.
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