Big Pharma Watch: Drug Company Triples Price Of Potential COVID-19 Treatment

Apr 23, 2020

Jaguar Health Hikes Prices on HIV/AIDS Medication After Asking FDA to Expand Its Use for Coronavirus

ICYMI, Jaguar Health, the manufacturer of brand name Mytesi, recently just tripled “the price of its lone FDA-approved drug, right after asking the federal government to expand the use of its drug to coronavirus patients,” Axios reports.

At the start of the year, the list price for the drug Mytesi, currently used as an HIV/AIDS treatment, was $668.52. But by April, Jaguar Health raised the price to an eye-popping $2,206.52 – alongside the drug company’s efforts to pursue a use for the product as a COVID-19 treatment.

Jaguar Health isn’t the only brand name drug company who has raised eyebrows with questionable to downright greedy anti-competitive and price-gouging behavior during this crisis.

In March, Big Pharma giant Gilead tried to take advantage of the ongoing health crisis by rushing to obtain orphan drug designation privileges for remdesivir – one of the few medications recently identified as a potential treatment for COVID-19 – before cases of the disease surpassed 200,000 in the United States.

Orphan drug designations are meant to encourage the development of treatments and cures for rare diseases – which COVID-19 is not. Remdesivir’s orphan drug designation would have allowed Gilead to rake in profits off research partially funded by American taxpayers while blocking competition for a seven-year period.

Gilead ultimately caved to an avalanche of criticism and asked the FDA to rescind orphan designation for remedesivir.

And, in the early days of the coronavirus’ spread, brand name drug company Rising Pharmaceuticals hiked the price of chloroquine phosphate tablets – a decades-old anti-viral medication – 98 percent in December. Chloroquine phosphate is typically used to treat malaria but has been the subject of speculation as a potential COVID-19 treatment.

Rising Pharmaceuticals also reversed itself and announced in March it would drop the drug back to its original price.

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