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Drug company ordered to cut price of life-saving medication after 3,000% jump | CBC News

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A pharmaceutical firm that jacked up the worth of a live-saving treatment is charging an excessive amount of and should decrease it, says Canada’s drug worth company. 

In a uncommon choice this week, the Patented Medicines Costs Evaluation Board (PMPRB) mentioned the worth of Horizon Pharma’s Procysbi “was and is extreme.”

Procysbi comprises the identical energetic ingredient, cysteamine bitartrate, as Cystagon, which was delivered to market by one other firm. The brand new drug has a particular coating that delays absorption so it’s launched extra slowly into the physique; it would not should be taken as typically. 

Each deal with nephropathic cystinosis, a uncommon genetic illness in youngsters that may destroy the kidneys. Cystagon was by no means totally accredited in Canada, however was out there via a particular program. Procysbi was accredited by Well being Canada in 2017. 

However mother and father of younger sufferers have been shocked when the annual worth from one to the opposite jumped some 3,000 per cent in 2018, from about $10,000 to greater than $300,000.

Horizon says Procysbi is a “new, and distinct drugs.”

The PMPRB advised Horizon Pharma it should cost a decrease, however unspecified, worth. The corporate will take its new worth to the provinces and territories, which is able to decide if they will afford to hold Procysbi underneath their drug plans. A yearly price of about $100,000 is usually seen as the utmost the plans will cowl. 

“We have to take into account extra typically whether or not or not the costs of a few of these new medicine are actually justified,” mentioned Dr. Joel Lexchin, an emeritus professor at York College’s school of well being, the place he research pharmaceutical coverage.

“If you’re entering into the tons of of 1000’s of {dollars} per 12 months for the drug, nevertheless the drug firms justify these, ask them to open up their books and present us the figures that imply they should cost this a lot for the drug.”

Uncommon choice

Such choices, which stem from public hearings, are uncommon for the board. Since 1993, it has reported solely 10 such hearings associated to allegations of extreme pricing.

Its choices might be appealed in courtroom, however Horizon says it is not going to.

“We … consider it’s best to maneuver ahead with out further litigation,” mentioned firm spokesperson Amanda Phraner.

“We proceed to firmly stand behind the worth of our modern uncommon illness drugs and the real-world worth it supplies to individuals impacted by nephropathic cystinosis.”

Jeff Wright, a spokesperson for the board, mentioned it all the time prefers to resolve these issues via voluntary compliance.

Wright says the final order issued by a PMPRB panel was concerning the pricing of Soliris (eculizumab) in 2017. The drug treats two uncommon ailments wherein the physique’s immune system assaults and destroys crimson blood cells.

The Soliris choice was judicially reviewed, appealed, and in June a PMBRB listening to panel ordered the patent-holder to make an undisclosed cost to the Crown.

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