Apparently in response to the outcry from parents, patients and fund raisers, the MOD has written to KV Pharma/Ther-Rx regarding its concerns about the price of Makena. Here is the MOD's letter:
March 23, 2011
Greg Divis, President
One Corporate Woods
Bridgeton, MO 63044
Dear Mr. Divis:
Thank you for your letter of March 17th. I am pleased to learn that you are ‘listening carefully to stakeholder concerns about list price, patient access, and cost to payers’. Thank you for considering additional steps to ensure that Makena is available to all eligible women, and for convening stakeholders from the March of Dimes, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine next week.
In advance of that meeting, I want to go on the record that March of Dimes expects Ther-Rx to come to the table with substantive commitments including:
1.A significant reduction in the list price of Makena.
2.Adjustments to the patient assistance program to ensure adequate coverage of all patients, insured, uninsured and underinsured.
3.A method for reporting on a regular basis to stakeholders on the patient assistance program to ensure that it is meeting needs in a timely and adequate way.
4.A justification or rationale for your pricing based on your investment in the product, savings to the health care system, or other appropriate methodology, which you are prepared to make public.
Without these elements, I do not believe that Makena can succeed in the current marketplace environment, and as a result, at -risk women will be denied access to a safe and effective treatment to reduce preterm delivery. Therefore if you are unable to make a clear commit-ment to significantly address the above issues at the meeting, the March of Dimes will need to pursue alternative strategies for ensuring that this proven intervention to prevent preterm birth is made available to all medically eligible pregnant women, and we will step away from our longstanding and productive corporate relationship with Ther-RX. Thank you for your consideration of this critical matter.
Jennifer L. Howse, PhD
Sadly the letter is pretty toothless.
The MOD's "threat" is that if KV Pharma/Ther-Rx does not justify the ridiculous price or lower the price, the MOD will "pursue alternative strategies for ensuring that [17P] is made available to all medically eligible women."
Well, exactly how does the MOD plan to "ensure" this? The MOD does not manufacture or distribute the drug. Currently KV Pharma/Ther-Rx has an exclusive license, so how does the MOD plan to ensure every eligible woman gets the drug? It can't. Nor has the MOD identified one single "alternative strategy" which it intends to use.
According to Charity Navigator (which gives the MOD a pretty poor one star rating), the MOD had over $211,000,000 in revenue in 2009. You can read about it here. I think the MOD needs to spend some of the $211,000,000 on a PR firm. Or maybe Dr. Jennifer Howse can use some of her $633,000 salary to help fund a PR campaign? Just a thought.