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Lawmakers Question Pricing of Drug for Genetic Disease

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Posted at 2:13 PM, Feb 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-13 14:13:00-05

WASHINGTON (AP) - Two lawmakers are asking Marathon Pharmaceuticals about what they consider exorbitant pricing of a drug to treat genetic muscle deterioration in about 15,000 Americans.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., say Marathon Pharmaceuticals plans to charge $89,000 a year for a drug that's widely available abroad for about $1,000 a year.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the drug last week to treat patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. While the steroid is commonly used globally, the FDA's action represents the first approval of Deflazacort for use in the U.S.

The two lawmakers say that "exorbitantly" pricing potentially life-saving medications hurts patient access and drives up prices for the entire health care sector.

The company said it would respond to the letter later Monday.

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