When two generic companies manufacturing valsartan recalled hundreds of lots of the blood-pressure medicine last July, Alembic Pharmaceuticals was unaffected by the recall and saw the perfect opportunity to increase prices.
Teva Pharmaceutical and Prinston Pharmaceutical recalled the medications after testing indicated traces of carcinogens in their medications. Making a smart move, Alembic tripled the price of 17 of its own valsartan formulations. According to the data from a healthcare analytics firm, the price hikes ranged from 329% to 469%. The Wall Street Journal stated the prices for McCleods Pharmaceuticals’ valsartan products surged as much as 305%. The price hikes affected those consumers who have prescription drug coverage, as they would get high co-pays and premiums next year when insurance companies respond to the price hikes. It is also bad news for those without coverage, as they will not be able to afford costlier medications, and they might compromise on their ongoing treatment altogether by controlling the medication.
Several individuals have already filed valsartan lawsuits seeking fair compensation for their cancer allegedly caused due to N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) or N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA) contamination in the blood pressure drug. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation last week heard oral arguments on the motion, to centralize product liability claims linked to valsartan recall before a single federal judge for coordinated discovery and other pretrial proceedings.