In the face of astronomical hikes in the price of drugs used to treat children, a congressional committee is looking into why companies have increased prescription costs as much as 18-fold when related research and marketing expenses are stable, according to lawmakers. One such company charges $69,000 for a three-vial drug treating infantile spasms—while a $15 alternative exists, reports Portfolio.
Corporate executives say price hikes increase availability of orphan drugs—those that treat very rare diseases—and also cover research expenses, as the long-term effects of some of these drugs are unknown. But politicians suspect the boost is largely due to corporate greed. Questcor, maker of the spasm drug, spends only 9.5% of its sales revenue on research and innovative drug development.