The Premature Labor Drug Makena Jumps from $10 to $1500


KV Pharmaceutical of suburban St. Louis won government approval to exclusively sell the drug, known as Makena a drug that is used to help prevent premature labor.

Why the Price Hike

The drug, a form of progesterone given as a weekly shot, has been made cheaply for years, mixed in special pharmacies that custom-compound treatments that are not federally approved. Now, that KV Pharmaceutical won government approval to exclusively sell the drug allowing them to sell it for whatever price they choose.

Doctors are Outraged

When a doctor has a high-risk patient, they depend on Makena to keep these women from going into premature labor in some cases as early as 22 weeks. A baby born at twenty-two weeks has a slim to no chance at all of survival and in the event the baby does survive, they are looking at a lifetime full of health problems. Doctors say the price hike may deter low-income women from getting the drug, leading to more premature births. In addition, it will certainly be a huge financial burden for health insurance companies and government programs that have been paying for it.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration are not involved in setting the price for the drugs it approves. The estimated cost for a woman with no insurance will range from $20,000 to over $50,000 in order to prevent a premature birth and give birth to a healthy baby.



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