US Senator Bernie Sanders intends to send Monday a letter to the Catalyst Pharmaceuticals laboratory asking him to justify his decision to charge $ 375,000 a year (327,500 euros) at the list price a treatment that was freely accessible for years.
Firdapse is used against Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome, a rare neuromuscular disease that affects approximately one in 100,000 people in the United States.
Bernie Sanders, according to his letter dated February 4 put at the disposal of Reuters by his services, asks Catalyst to specify the financial and non-financial factors which led him to fix this tariff.
For years, patients were able to obtain free Firdapse from Jacobus Pharmaceuticals, a small laboratory that offered it as part of a compassionate use program of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
This program allows patients with rare diseases to access experimental drugs outside of a clinical trial when there is no viable alternative.
In November, Catalyst obtained the FDA’s Firdapse agreement and the exclusive marketing rights for several years, which it bought in 2012 from BioMarin. Catalyst announced in December that a one-year salary would be sold for $ 375,000.
The US government is stepping up its monitoring of the pharmaceutical industry and rising prescription drug prices, which is a major concern of voters and a top priority for the Trump administration.
The House of Representatives, led by the Democrats, and the Republican-controlled Senate, have begun hearings this year on soaring drug costs. Bernie Sanders is an independent who generally votes with the Democrats.
Several lawmakers have already written to laboratories to hold them to account. Democratic representatives Frank Pallone and Diana DeGette sent a letter to Sanofi, Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk, who dominate the insulin market, to find out why their prices have soared in recent years.