Is Price Gouging Common in the Pharmacy Industry?

February 15, 2018

A pharmacy company has come under fire after a long-standing cancer medication’s price increased by 1,500 percent in the last four years. The drug, originally known as CeeNU, has no generic alternative and was originally priced at $50 a pill. The price increase comes after a change in ownership. The original owner sold the medication…

A pharmacy company has come under fire after a long-standing cancer medication’s price increased by 1,500 percent in the last four years. The drug, originally known as CeeNU, has no generic alternative and was originally priced at $50 a pill. The price increase comes after a change in ownership. The original owner sold the medication to another company. The new owner then re-branded the drug as Gleostine and increased its price by 16 times the original price. The cancer pill now costs around $800 a pill.

Patients relying on this medication for their treatment were not pleased to learn about this alleged price gouging. Price gouging happens when a seller raises the price of a good or service. The price increase is very high and may be considered unreasonable or unethical. According to pharmaceutical companies, medication prices are set based on the cost to develop the medication, pay regulatory fees, and also taking into consideration the benefits the medication has on the patient. Unfortunately, Gleostine’s price is far outside the average patient’s budget.

In Louisiana, price gouging is considered illegal if a good or service’s price is increased during a declared state of emergency within the emergency area. Penalties for price gouging during these life-threatening events can lead to huge fines and, should someone die as a result of price gouging, up to 10 years of hard labor. The FDA, to curb price gouging and help patients access their medications without breaking the bank, has been attempting to increase the amount of FDA approved generic medication in the pharmaceutical market. Generic medication is a cheaper treatment solution for folks who cannot pay excess prices like $800 a pill. The FDA recently approved a record number of generic medications last month.

If you’re considering filing a price gouging lawsuit against a company, contact a knowledgeable attorney first. The lawyers at Martzell, Bickford & Centola can help navigate you through Louisiana’s price gouging laws and better assist you in your claim.

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