Drugmaker Hits Pause After Receiving Blistering Criticism Over $89,000 Medication

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Hours after receiving a letter from Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Elijah Cummings calling the pricing strategy on the muscular dystrophy drug unconscionable, Marathon Pharmaceuticals announced it was reevaluating the product launch.

The Associated Press: Company Announces Pause For Drug After Price Criticism
Marathon Pharmaceuticals announced Monday that it will temporarily halt the rollout of a drug to treat genetic muscle deterioration just hours after two members of Congress expressed outrage that the company planned to charge $89,000 a year for a drug that’s widely available abroad for about $1,000 a year. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., urged the company earlier in the day to lower the drug’s price. (Freking, 2/13)

The Wall Street Journal: Firm Delays Muscular Dystrophy Drug U.S. Launch Amid Criticism Of $89,000 Price
In a statement posted on the website of a nonprofit group involved with muscular dystrophy, Marathon CEO Jeffrey Aronin said the company was “pausing our launch,” which had been scheduled for March. The company will meet with “caregivers and explain our commercialization plans, review their concerns, discuss all options, and move forward with commercialization based on an agreed plan of action,” he said in the statement. (Walker and Pulliam, 2/13)

Stat: Sanders Blasts Marathon Over The High Price For Old Medicine
The [delay] comes just hours after two lawmakers, including Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), sent a harshly worded letter, blasting Marathon for “unconscionable” pricing for the drug, which would be used to treat a rare form of muscular dystrophy. And beyond urging the drug maker to lower its $89,000 price, they demanded the company fork over a raft of information, including development expenses and profit projections. (Silverman, 2/13)

The Hill: Sanders, Cummings Hit Pharma Company For Drug’s $89K Price Tag
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), two vocal critics of high drug prices, demanded answers from Marathon Pharmaceuticals Monday, calling the price of Deflazacort “unconscionable.” “Marathon’s apparent abuse of government-granted exclusivity periods and incentives to sell what should be a widely available drug for $89,000 a year is unconscionable,” Sanders and Cummings wrote in the letter to the CEO of Marathon. (Hellmann, 2/13)

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