Mallinckrodt is defending its price hikes on H.P. Acthar Gel (corticotropin) in a California federal court as necessary “to save the drug.”
Humana sued the drugmaker in August in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, calling Mallinckrodt’s pricing of the blockbuster gel — currently approved for 19 indications, including arthritis, infantile spasms and multiple sclerosis — “one of the most outrageous price-gouging schemes” in the nation’s history.
Mallinckrodt is seeking to dismiss the suit, arguing that by 2001, the drug was “unprofitable” for its previous owner, Sanofi Aventis. The gel’s list price in 2001 was $40 per vial. The current list price for 80 units/mL is more than $40,000 for five milliliters.
The drugmaker further argued that when it’s subsidiary Questcor acquired the gel in 2001, it “saved the drug,” and that subsequent price hikes following the acquisition were “lawful steps to reposition Acthar in the markets in which it competes.”