* Cuts injection prices 55 pct
* Will offer supplemental rebates along with list price
(Adds comments from industry groups; updates stock)
WASHINGTON, April 1 K-V Pharmaceutical Co
KVa.N slashed the price of its pre-term birth drug, Makena,
on Friday following complaints earlier this month by U.S.
senators and industry groups about a big price increase.
However, industry groups expressed disappointment with the
price cut, saying it was not enough to bridge the gap between
the branded drug and similar versions compounded by specialty
The company, which has faced strong opposition since the
drug price was announced, cut the list price of Makena by
nearly 55 percent to $690 per injection.
"The cost for each pregnancy remains about $7,000 compared
with $300 for the compounded drug," said George Saade,
president of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, a
nonprofit group of obstetricians and gynecologists.
"Makena has not been shown to be more effective or safer
than the available compounded drug."
Industry group America's Health Insurance Plans, which had
urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to provide clearer
guidance on the availability of the cheaper compounded drugs,
called Friday's price cut "a modest step."
The drug had been available for $10-$20 per injection, but
reportedly rose to $1,500 after the Missouri-based company's
version was granted orphan status. [ID:nL3E7EI28M]
The nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health,
March of Dimes, ended its current contract with K-V and called
K-V's handling of the Makena launch and the list price "highly
unsatisfactory and unacceptable."
Repeated complaints about the dramatic price rise led to
the U.S. health regulator announcing on Wednesday that it would
take no action against pharmacies that formulate treatments
similar to Makena. [ID:nN30136574]
"We understand the concerns that key stakeholders raised
under our original pricing structure," said K-V Pharma Chief
Executive Officer Greg Divis. "We also recognize the current
budget challenges facing state Medicaid programs and other
K-V said it will offer supplemental rebates that, in
conjunction with the list price reduction and the standard
Medicaid rebate of 23.1 percent, will result in a lower cost
Makena sales are important for K-V, which has been battling
several lawsuits and manufacturing issues that led to the
company being barred from making drugs. The approval of Makena
revived the company's stock and held the promise of a fresh
The company's shares, which have risen about threefold
since the drug received the FDA's marketing nod in February,
were trading down 5.8 percent at $5.64 on Friday afternoon on
the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Esha Dey; additional reporting by Krishnakali
Sengupta in Bangalore; editing by Robert MacMillan and Andre