Printer Friendly

Price battle over schizophrenia drug.

Price battle over schizophrenia drug

A drug long available in Europe and approved for U.S. use last February may substantially help many schizophrenics who fail to respond to other drugs (SN:5/23/87, p.324). But psychiatrists from around the United States claim the medication is financially out of reach for many of the patients who need it most, particularly people with chronic schizophrenia who have little money or health insurance.

The drug, known as clozapine, is marketed by Sandoz Pharmaceuticals Corp. in East Hanover, N.J. Because about 1 percent of clozapine patients experience a potentially fatal drop in white blood cells, anyone taking the drug must participate in a weekly blood-monitoring program run by a private laboratory chosen by Sandoz. The total yearly cost is nearly $9,000 per patient, mostly for the monitoring program.

Many psychiatrists contend that private clinicians and state and Veterans Administration hospitals could do the blood monitoring just as well and at less expense. Some states, including Oregon, say they may file antitrust suits against Sandoz.

Gilbert Honigfeld of Sandoz argues that without the national testing program, careless monitoring -- and thus some clozapine-induced deaths -- appear likely. Even a few deaths will result in a U.S. ban on clozapine, he says. In the long run, the current program saves money by keeping patients out of hospitals and nursing homes, Honigfeld maintains.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:clozapine
Author:Bower, Bruce
Publication:Science News
Date:May 26, 1990
Previous Article:The global heart of panic.
Next Article:Obesity: waist not, but okay behind.

Related Articles
Schizophrenia: new hope from an old drug.
Schizophrenia drug gains FDA approval.
New report offers antipsychotic guidelines.
Gene variety and psychiatric drugs.
Schizophrenia: promising drug ... and infectious clues.
Antipsychotics and brain changes.
The Role of Medications in the Employment of People with Schizophrenia.
Dose of caution: new antipsychotic meds produce muted benefits. (Science News This Week).
Meds alert: old schizophrenia drug stands up to new ones.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters