MARIETTA, Ga. — The city of Marietta is suing a drug manufacturer because it claims the company jacked up the price of a specific drug 97,500%.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court, claims one city employee needs the drug Acthar, which is used to treat seizures in small children.
“Acthar used to cost $40, but Mallinckrodt has raised the price of the drug to over $39,000 per vial,” the city claims in the lawsuit. “This eye-popping 97,500% price increase is the result of unlawful and unfair conduct by Mallinckrondt. The city has expended over $2 million for just one patient covered by the city’s self-funded health plan.”
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The suit is filed in the Northern District of Georgia and requests compensatory and punitive damages.
Atlanta pharmacist Ira Katz said Acthar is what’s called a “biologic” and they can be classified as specialty drugs.
“They put them into the specialty class, and the prices are outrageous, just outrageous,” Katz said.
Some people on the Marietta Square said they hope the city wins.
“I think it’s absolutely terrible,” said Kennesaw resident Ashley Ray. "I think everyone should be able to afford medications, especially children. They should be sued.”
“I think drugs are way too expensive,” said Dolores Williams. “I hope they win their lawsuit.”
Channel 2′s Richard Elliot contacted Mallinckrodt for comment on the lawsuit. The company sent him a statement saying:
"In 2017, Mallinckrodt specifically offered to work with representatives for the City of Marietta in response to inquiries the City had made about the price of Acthar. The City declined to meaningfully participate in that process.
"Mallinckrodt acquired Acthar in August 2014, well after the price increase you reference in 2007 was undertaken by Questcor, the previous owner of Acthar. Under our stewardship, any price adjustments to Acthar have been limited to the mid-single digit percentage range. We want to help ensure patients have access to and can benefit from our therapies. That’s why we offer significant discounts to many payers and customers, which the prior owner did not. Additionally, Mallinckrodt offers a range of robust free drug and commercial copay assistance options for patients, in compliance with applicable laws.
"In its just over 5 years of ownership, the company has invested more than $600 million into this important therapy, including clinical trials and data generation, manufacturing improvements and other Acthar development programs.”
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