Outrage is growing this week amid revelations that the pharmaceutical company Valeant raised the price for its critical lead-poisoning treatment by more than 2,700 percent in a single year.
Before Valeant took control of the medication, known as Calcium EDTA, in 2013, the average price for a package of vials was stable at $950, the medical news outlet STAT reported. But once the notorious pharmaceutical company bought it out in a multi-billion dollar deal, it swiftly boosted the price to $7,116 in January 2014 and to $26,927 by December of that year.
“This is a drug that has long been a standard of care, and until recently it was widely accessible at an affordable price,” Dr. Michael Kosnett, an associate clinical professor, told STAT. He also contacted U.S. Congress. “There’s no justification for the astronomical price increases by Valeant, which limit availability of the drug to children with life-threatening lead poisoning.”
And at least one person in Congress is listening. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) retweeted the STAT article this week and noted that the price remains high as Flint, Michigan suffers a very public lead poisoning crisis.
“While kids in Flint are poisoned by lead, Valeant charges $27,000 for the leading treatment,” wrote the senator, who made anti-price gouging legislation a cornerstone of his presidential campaign.