Marathon Pharmaceuticals announced it was "pausing" the launch of Emflaza (deflazacort), its Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug. This comes after criticisms from U.S. lawmakers questioned the company’s decision to price the drug at $89,000 a year when patients previously were importing it for less than $1,500.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had just approved the muscular dystrophy drug last week. The FDA approved Emflaza under its orphan drug program, which includes the incentive of seven years of market exclusivity.
Marathon stated that patients currently importing the drug could continue to do so.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Maryland congressman Elijah Cummings called on Marathon to justify the price hike and to document the cost of bringing it to market.