Lawmakers Question Price Hikes for Ponatinib

Ariad Pharmaceuticals is facing criticism for increasing its prices for a year-long supply of ponatinib, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2012 for the treatment of adults with chronic myeloid leukemia and Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphocytic leukemia .

The pharmaceutical manufacturer raised the price of ponatinib four times in 2016; the current price for a month’s supply is $16,651, totaling $198,732 per year. In 2012, a year’s supply cost $114,960.

Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Elijah Cummings sent a letter to Ariad Pharmaceuticals asking for an explanation for its more than $80,000 price increase. In the letter, Sen. Sanders noted that, in addition to raising the price of the drug, the manufacturer has discontinued sales of a two-month 60-tablet supply of 15 mg of ponatinib and is now selling a 30-tablet supply of the same dose for the same price. The two congressmen also accused the company of being “more concerned with its profit than with its patients,” and demanded details about the company’s profits and any programs it offers to cut patient costs.

Source: NPR, October 20, 2016.