Defending the $375,000 annual price tag of a prescription drug

  • Catalyst CEO Patrick McEnany is now building his stand around the FDA approval of the $375,000 annual price tag it has slapped on its newly approved drug Firdapse.
  • “We believe that the pricing of our product is in line with the pricing of other products that provide significant clinical benefits” according to their CEO.
  • The CEO also says the company will do whatever they can to limit patients’ out of pocket cost but the damage is already done.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, who earlier this month demanded answers from Catalyst Pharmaceuticals about the drug’s $375,000 price, blasted the company for not responding, and he ripped Catalyst for endangering patients’ lives. “Instead of answering my questions or lowering the price of this drug, they’ve hired a lobbying firm,” Sanders told CNN in a written statement Wednesday.

Welcome to the era of big pharma flipping the bird to patients.

Despite the attempt to limit patient s”out-of-pocket” expenses Catalyst’s actions are sure to give the single-payer movement more ammunition. According to Vice News “our healthcare system is ableist and exclusionary in ways that go far beyond insulin. Across America, hospitals, insurance companies, and drug manufacturers punish the poverty-stricken ill and disabled with the shackles of inflated medical billsunaffordable co-pays, and lifelong debts. The grotesquely ballooning cost of healthcare can be seen everywhere from the rising price of Mylan’s EpiPen, which saves the lives of those experiencing anaphylactic shock, to the shockingly high price of birthing a child or visiting the emergency room”.

On Tuesday some pharma CEO’s are going to appertains before Congress but that will be nothing but a show to try and show voters that politicians are doing something. Politicians still haven’t learned that drug prices are set to maximize shareholder value and drug companies know how to game the system.

STAT news recently rand a counterpoint article entitled “Don’t villainize the biopharma industry. It offers hope to people like me”. The article talked about a patient who has a rare disease who is being helped by new drugs that are being developed. He sums up “casting the biopharma industry as a villain discounts the experience of people like me who have been engaged with, and are relying on, industry for the treatments we so desperately need. I plan to keep educating myself about what is happening in this industry, both bad and good. I will join in decrying bad actors. But I urge the media and politicians to help the American public see the good these companies do”.

To be sure he does have a point. An HIV diagnosis used to mean a death sentence but with prescription drugs, people can live a long time with HIV. How many people have been saved from heart disease because of statins or strokes because of blood pressure medications? Even though the numbers are high today the public is largely divided and loves to assign blame for everything to high gas prices to the outrageous price of insulin.

No matter how much money PhRMA spends on lobbying companies like Catalyst are going to continue to bring tghe heat on big pharma.