Isoproterenol is a β-adrenergic agonist used for the emergent treatment of pulmonary hypertensive crisis and other life-threatening cardiovascular conditions.1 In 2013, Marathon Pharmaceuticals acquired isoproterenol (Isuprel) from Hospira Pharmaceuticals and raised the wholesale acquisition cost of a 5-mL vial (0.2 mg/mL) from $45 to $208. Two years later, Marathon sold the drug to Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which raised the wholesale acquisition cost again to $1700 per vial. After this nearly 40-fold increase in price, isoproterenol accounted for $3.9 million (7%) of the total fiscal year 2016 pharmacy spend at our children’s hospital (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). Over the course of 2 years, an inexpensive generic medication that physicians ordered without thinking twice about price became one of the costliest medications in the pharmacy budgets of hospitals across the country.2
Keren R, Hadley SE, Patel NS. Reducing Hospital Pharmacy Spend After Pharmaceutical Price Increases—Don’t Get Mad, Get Lean. JAMA Pediatr. 2018;172(11):1005–1006. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.2042
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: