Still think the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has your best interests in mind? According to new reports, the agency has arbitrarily decided to grant exclusive approval to KV Pharmaceutical to produce the one-and-only FDA-approved premature birth prevention drug -- which is really just a modified, patented version of the common hormone progesterone -- administered to women with a high risk of preterm delivery. So what used to cost women as little as $10 to buy from their local compounding pharmacy will now cost $1,500, thanks to the FDA.
Progesterone injections have long been custom-made by compounding pharmacies and sold for very little to women in need of them because, frankly, they cost very little to produce. But a backroom deal over at the FDA has changed everything, allowing a single pharmaceutical company to gain monopolistic control over the drug, which in turn allows that company to charge whatever it wants to for the injections, even if it is thousands of times more than what the drug actually costs to produce.
"This is a huge increase for something that can't be costing them that much to make," said Dr. Roger Snow, deputy medical director for Massachusetts' Medicaid Program. "For crying out loud, this is about making money."
And Snow is exactly right. The costs associated with producing progesterone are minimal, and there is absolutely no justification for charging $1,500 -- or as much as $30,000 throughout an entire pregnancy -- for progesterone treatment. But the FDA decision and the subsequent price increase are a natural result of what happens when government regulatory agencies are bought and paid for by the very industries they are supposed to be regulating.