Price of cancer drug that’s been around for 40 years up 1400%

A drug maker is being accused of price gouging.

A new report in the Wall Street Journal revealed that NextSource Biotechnology has increased the price of the cancer drug Lomustine by 1400% since 2013.

The drug is used to treat brain tumors and Hodgkin Lymphoma.

Lomustine used to cost about $50 per capsule for the highest dose. Now, the same treatment costs about $750. Since the drug dosage is based on weight, some patients might need more than one capsule — increasing the costs even more. There is no generic alternative.

Oncologists have a renewed interest in the drug after government-funded studies show Lomustine combined with chemotherapy can help patients battling brain tumors live longer.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Chairman of the Food and Drug Administration, recently tweeted that approving generic drugs is a top priority.

“FDA is taking new steps to stem pricing abuses,” he said. “Branded companies can help too, by contracting carefully when they choose to out-license old generic drugs; building into these contracts provision that would help prevent abusive pricing by the acquirers.”

Getting drug companies interested in a treatment that helps only a small group of patients can be close to impossible, the Wall Street Journal reported.

It’s very expensive to get a generic drug to market and some companies say it’s just not worth it.