Health Inc.

Bowing To Pressure, KV Cuts Price Of Preterm Labor Drug

The backlash against the steep price for a newly approved drug to prevent premature births has led KV Pharmaceuticals to cut its sticker price by more than half.

Today, KV's Ther-Rx unit said it will charge $690 for each shot of Makena instead of the original $1,500. The company also pledged to offer broader financial assistance to women who need the medicine. In a statement, KV's CEO Greg Divis, acknowledged "the concerns that key stakeholders raised under our original pricing structure."

Before KV won the Food and Drug Administration's approval to market the medicine, known generically as hydroxyprogesterone caproate, pharmacists would make batches of the stuff and charge about $20 a shot.

KV's high price for a factory-made version of the same drug ignited furious criticism. The FDA even took the unusual step of telling pharmacists they were free to keep making the medicine to order without fear of a regulatory crackdown.

It's not clear the company has gone far enough on price to placate foes.

The March of Dimes, which took heat for praising Makena before its sky-high price became known, said it was cutting its ties to Ther-Rx. In a statement the non-profit group said the price cut and expansion of financial assistance "are are steps in the right direction."

But the March of Dimes is now ending a contract it has had with Ther-Rx. In an email, a group spokeswoman said Ther-Rx has been a sponsor of the group's program to support families with babies in intensive care, March for Babies fundraiser and some other programs, including education for health care professionals. No longer.

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