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K-V Pharmaceutical And Orphan Drug Makena: Kaiser Health Perspective

November 3, 2012

       The J. Kaiser Family Foundation, on October 30, 2012, publishes an article titled,”Insurance Policies Favoring Compounded Drugs For High-Risk Pregnancies Draw Scrutiny”.  The article reviews K-V Pharmaceutical’s orphan drug Makena from the health insurance perspective. 

       The article takes a look at the Makena verses compounded drug controversy, from the perspective of private insurers and government insurers (Medicaid) : 

1)  In 2011, Makena is approved to help prevent premature births with a $1,500/dose price tag, which didn’t make private insurance companies and government insurance officials happy 

2)  Many private insurance companies restricted the use of Makena, to favor the $20 – $40/dose compounded version instead 

3)  Per the article, the price of Makena was reduced to $690/dose.  K-V Pharmaceutical “has granted extra discounts to Medicaid programs, bringing the price to below $300 a dose”.

4)  After the recent US deadly meningitis outbreak, which involved compounding pharmacies, many insurers are now taking a different look at the Makena situation. The question now arising is “what are the tradeoffs between cost, safety, and access ……”, which are issues facing policymakers and insurers 

5)  Per the article, the FDA,” ….. advised that approved drug products, such as Makena, provide a greater assurance of safety and effectiveness than do compounded products.” 

6)  The flip side of this FDA argument is the fact that Makena remains out of reach for state Medicaid programs and women they cover 

7)  Private insurance companies favor the cheaper compounded version of Makena, per the article. 

Copyright  © 2012-2013, Ann-Teresa Cusenza and Orphan Druganaut Blog.  All rights reserved.

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2 Comments
  1. Starbright permalink

    KV has drastically reduced the price of Makena and now over 250 payers cover Makena. It is not $1,500.00 per dose.

    • Thanks for reading the Orphan Druganaut Blog.

      The article quoted in this Blog Post identifies the $1,500/dose cost as the starting price when Makena 1st was approved of in 2011. The article then goes on to say the the price subsequently was reduced to $690/dose & that K-V Pharmaceutical “has granted extra discounts to Medicaid programs, bringing the price to below $300 a dose”.

      Your point is well taken. Thanks again for the update & information. Please keep following the Orphan Druganaut Blog

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