Morning Roundup: Price of Preterm Birth Prevention Medication Skyrockets


Preterm birth medication cost will go up 150 times due to exclusivity contract, FBI arrests suspect in Fresno Planned Parenthood arson case, Georgia moves to only allow abortions to be performed in hospitals, and Senator Rand Paul connects abortion, light bulbs, and his toilet. And he really hates his toilet.

  • The federal government recently granted KV Pharmaceuticals exclusive rights to produce a medication that helps prevent preterm birth. The result? The drug will jump from $10-20 per dose to $1500 per dose. Women can take the drug for up to 20 weeks, and it is taken once per week. Additionally, women will have to have the injection at a physician’s office, instead of being able to administer the medication at home, leading to additional co-pays.
    "I don't think there's any question that fewer women will use it now," said Ronald Thomas, director of the division of maternal-fetal medicine for West Penn Allegheny Health System, where 60 to 80 women a year use the drug. "Insurance companies may be happy to approve it if it was $250 to $300 [per person] but they may take a second look at it if it's a $25,000 to $30,000 charge."

    When Dr. Thomas first heard about the price increase Thursday, he said, "I thought it must have been a misinterpretation of the cost."
    "You can't describe this as anything other than greed," he said.
  • The FBI has arrested a school bus driver in connection with an attempted arson at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Fresno, CA. He is accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail through a window at the clinic, which was forced to close for two days due to fire and smoke damage.
  • The Georgia Senate passed a bill out of committee that would require all abortions in the state to be performed in licensed hospitals. Currently, nearly all abortions in the state are performed in clinics and doctor’s offices.  “’To put it in a nutshell abortions would be legal in Georgia, you just couldn't get one,’ said Janelle Yamarick, the community services director at Feminist Women's Health Center of DeKalb County.”
  • Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) tries to connect abortion, light bulbs, and his dissatisfaction with his toilet in a hearing by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Politico reports on a priceless exchange between Paul and Department of Energy deputy assistant secretary Kathleen Hogan:
    “I think there should be self-examination from the administration on the idea that you favor a woman’s right to an abortion but you don’t favor a woman, or a man’s, right to choose what kind of light bulb, what kind of dishwasher.”
    In the middle of her response to Paul’s line of comments, Hogan said, “My view is what you want —”
    “Is to buy a toilet that works!” Paul interrupted.
    Hogan replied: "I can help you find a toilet that works."
    “I’ve been waiting 20 years to talk about how bad these toilets are,” Paul later said.
    Chairman Jeff Bingaman responded, “Well, I’m sorry about your toilet.”

Mar 11

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