Pregnancy Drug Skyrocketing From $20 To $1,500


UPDATED: Monday March 21, 2011 1:41 PM

A drug that prevents miscarriages will soon skyrocket from less than $20 per shot to more than $1,000.

The Central Ohio Compounding Pharmacy has been busy taking calls from doctors and patients to see if they can keep getting a progesterone drug that prevents miscarriage.

"They're really concerned about the availability," said pharmacist Tony Buchta.

For 50 years, a synthetic hormone has been on the market. Doctors prescribe it to help high-risk pregnant women, 10TV's Andrea Cambern reported on Thursday.

It is made-to-order in compounding pharmacies and costs $19 a shot.

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Next week, KV Pharmaceuticals will market their own version, with approval from the federal government to do it exclusively.

They will charge $1,500 a shot, Cambern reported.

"I don't understand how it's going to cost that much more to produce what we're able to compound for our patients," Buchta said.

Heidi Peterson is expecting her second son in July and needs 20 shots.

"I was just shocked," Peterson said. "I just couldn't believe that's even legal."

Her first son was born a month early, and Peterson's doctor told her that with each pregnancy, the babies will be born earlier each time.

"And earlier than 36 weeks can be pretty dangerous, so it's scary, very scary," Peterson said.

Buchta said they package each shot one dose at a time, and mix different oil in it than KV Pharmaceuticals does, so if the company tells them to stop making the medicine, they will ignore it because their version is different.

"So I don't think there's a legal court battle her," Buchta said. "If we have to do that we will, because I think the patient's ultimately what we need to protect."

The chief executive of KV Pharmaceuticals said that the price they are charging is justified because it can offset some of the high costs of caring for premature babies.

Medicaid directors said they worry that it will hurt their budgets and patients worry that it will boost private insurance premiums.

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