Senator Seeks More Info From Mallinckrodt on Price Increases of Acetaminophen Injection
Posted 24 May 2017 | By
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) late last week sent a letter to the CEO of Mallinckrodt seeking more information on price increases of its injectable version of acetaminophen as hospitals reported millions in increased costs.
McCaskill, who says in the letter that she’s recently begun an investigation into the manufacturers of the top five opioids by 2015 worldwide sales, notes that BJC HealthCare hospital system in Missouri saw an additional $2.16 million in costs associated with the injectable, known as Ofirmev, after the price of the drug was more than doubled. The hospital removed the drug from its adult formulary.
Johns Hopkins Medicine and New York University Langone Medical Center also reported more than $1 million in additional costs.
Touted as an alternative to opioids, McCaskill notes a Bloomberg article that says Ofirmev’s price has increased 229% since it was introduced at $12.90 a vial. Cadence Pharmaceuticals, after acquiring the exclusive rights to the drug in the US and Canada in 2006 from Bristol-Myers Squibb, increased the price to $17.70 a vial as it sold it to Mallinckrodt, which then raised the price to $42.48 a vial.
McCaskill is asking Mallinckrodt for more information on the number of hospitals that have continued and discontinued Ofirmev’s use after demonstration programs for Ofirmev. She’s also seeking journal articles or other evidence that Ofirmev is an effective alternative to opioids for treating pain, as well as unit sales of Ofirmev to Missouri hospitals before and after the $1.4 billion Cadence acquisition in 2014.
McCaskill isn't a stranger to drug price gouging and has previously investigated price spikes of off-patent drugs, Martin Shkreli's former company Turing Pharmaceuticals, price gouging from Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Mylan's price increases on its EpiPen and opioid overdose treatment price increases.
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