What We're Reading: DMD Drug Gets $89K Price Tag; Necessary Drug Price Hikes; and ACA Taxes

Drug Approved to Treat DMD Gets More Expensive

A new drug to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) has been around for decades in Europe, but will come to the market in the United States with a much bigger price tag. According to The Wall Street Journal, Marathon Pharmaceuticals LLC will bring deflazacort to the United States for $89,000 a year. The corticosteroid was approved Thursday to treat DMD. The drug isn’t a cure, however; instead, it improves muscle strength for boys affected by the disease. Americans have been importing deflazacort from the United Kingdom at a much lower price. The article highlights one mother who pays about $1600 annually.

Why Drug Price Hikes Can Be Necessary

The list price of deflazacort is a 6000% price increase over the price in Europe or Canada. However, Matthew Herper at Forbes explains why this price hike was necessary: because deflazacort had never been approved in the United States, Marathon had to get it approved, which meant conducting 17 clinical and preclinical trials. In the end, the high cost of the drug is necessary to pay for the cost of getting FDA approval and still making a profit.

The ACA’s Taxes

The Associated Press took a look at the taxes imposed by the Affordable Care Act that will bring in about $1.1 trillion in revenue over 10 years. For instance, the 3.8% tax on investment income over a certain threshold would bring in $223 billion in revenue. Overall, there are more than 10 individual taxes listed out by the AP that have helped pay for expanding health coverage. However, Republican efforts to replace or even alter the law could significantly affect this estimated revenue over the next decade.