Talk Back: Pregnancy drug cost $20, then $1,500, now $690. What's the lesson here?

Perhaps K-V Pharmaceutical, maker of the pregnancy drug Makena, has learned a lesson. The public and the FDA were not amused -- not in the slightest -- when the company boosted the per-dose price of Makena from $20 to $1,500 after getting exclusive rights to the drug. It also told compounding pharmacies (which can make the drug more cheaply) to back off.

The FDA ended up telling compounding pharmacies to go ahead and make it themselves. Voila. The price on Makena dropped to $690 -- no bargain by any means, but perhaps less likely to incite a riot than the $1,500 figure.

Maybe K-V has learned the perils of seeming too obscenely opportunistic. Maybe the FDA has learned to demand a bit more respect from companies benefiting from public research money. Maybe the public is learning to push back. Or, considering the fact that a drug available for $400 per pregnancy is now available for $13,800 per pregnancy, just what is the take-home lesson here?

Photo: Up until a few weeks ago, Makena cost $400 over the course of a pregnancy. Then it shot to $30,000. Then it fell to $13,800. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles TimesCopyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
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