Feb 13, 2017

Marathon pauses rollout of pricey drug

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Marathon Pharmaceuticals is delaying the U.S. launch of its drug recently approved to treat patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy after its $89,000 list price stoked an uproar from Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Elijah Cummings, patient groups and many who work in the industry.

Patient advocacy group Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy announced the pause, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, on Monday afternoon. The group said it was "alarmed by the hefty price tag being considered for Emflaza in the U.S., especially considering this is not a new drug."

Marathon responded that it is "taking this pause so that conversations between the company and the community can continue before a launch price is finalized." The company had said the amount it will actually receive, net of rebates and discounts, will be $54,000 annually — still a lot more expensive than what the drug costs abroad.

Why this matters: Several years ago, Marathon's drug price hike would have floated under the radar. But this is the clearest example yet of what will happen if drug companies price medications beyond what is acceptable by the public and Congress.

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Mass shooting in Milwaukee: What we know so far

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Six people died in a shooting at the Milwaukee Molson Coors brewery complex on Wednesday, including the shooter, Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at an evening press conference with local police.

What's happening: Police said "there is no active threat" just before 6 pm ET, but noted the scene remains active. Police chief Alfonso Morales told reporters that officers have "more than 20 buildings we have to secure" at the complex and they do not currently have all employees accounted for, as more than 1,000 were at the complex during the shooting.

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Live updates: CDC confirms possible community spread of coronavirus

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

U.S. clinicians have found the novel coronavirus in a person who did not recently return from a foreign country nor have contact with a confirmed case, the CDC said Tuesday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

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Trump assigns Pence to lead U.S. coronavirus response


President Trump announced at a press briefing Wednesday evening that he'll be putting Vice President Mike Pence in charge of leading the administration's response to the coronavirus.

The big picture: In the wake of a market sell-off and warnings from health officials that there's a real threat of the coronavirus spreading in the U.S., Trump sought to reassure the nation and Wall Street that the U.S. is "ready" for whatever comes next.

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