Preemie Birth Preventive Spikes From $10 to $1,500

ATLANTA (AP) - The cost of preventing preterm labor is about to increase dramatically.

A drug for high-risk pregnant women that has cost about $10 to $20 per injection will shoot up to $1,500 a dose next week. That's because KV Pharmaceutical recently won government approval to exclusively sell the drug.

Makena (Mah-KEE'-Nah), a form of progesterone, has been custom
made cheaply by special pharmacies.

Now, the March of Dimes and many obstetricians say quality will be more consistent and it will be easier to get. But others disagree. Dr. Arnold Cohen, an obstetrician at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia says he's "never seen anything as outrageous as this."

Doctors say the price hike may deter low-income women from getting the drug, and will certainly be a huge financial burden for health insurance companies and government programs that have been paying for it.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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