Turning Liquid into Gold: A Pharmaceutical Rumpelstiltskin Story

A recent letter to the editor (LA Probst, TR Welch. NEJM 2017; 376: 795-6) provides a sad tale of how well-intended legislation to promote safety and efficacy of pediatric liquid medications has led to both an increased number of liquid formulations approved by the FDA but with a much higher cost than previous extemporaneously compounded formulations.

The liquid version of lisinopril is priced 775 times the cost of the equivalent tablet.  Other medications with high liquid to tablet cost ratios include enalapril (21 times), indomethacin (49 times), glycopyrrolate (14 times), and pyridostigmine (11 times).

The authors note that there are additional costs for developing/manufacturing these liquid formulations.

My take (borrowed from the authors): “there must be a better way to support the costs of developing the drug formulations that many children and some severely impaired adults desperately need.”

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Chattahoochee near Azalea drive

Chattahoochee near Azalea drive

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