This old drug was free. Now it’s $109500 a year

For four decades, Don Anderson of Seattle has been taking the same drug to help control the temporary bouts of immobility and muscle weakness caused by a rare genetic illness called periodic paralysis.

“It’s like putting a 50-pound pack on your back and standing up at the dinner table,” Anderson, 73, said. “It’s like wearing lead shoes around all the time.”

The drug Anderson has been taking all these years was originally approved in 1958 and used primarily to treat the eye disease glaucoma under the brand name Daranide, its price so unremarkable that he can’t quite remember how much it cost at the pharmacy counter.

But the price has been on a roller coaster in recent years — zooming from a list price of $50 for a bottle of 100 pills in the early 2000s up to $13,650 in 2015, then plummeting back down to free, before skyrocketing back up to $15,001 after a new company, Strongbridge Biopharma, acquired the drug and relaunched it this spring…

Read full story at Los Angeles Times

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