Sanders Statement on FDA Approval of Drug to Treat Pediatric LEMS

WASHINGTON, May 8 – Senator Sanders released the following statement in response to news that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved treatment for pediatric Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome (LEMS), a rare neuromuscular disorder. In February, Sanders sent a letter to the CEO of Catalyst Pharmaceuticalsdemanding an explanation for its decision to set the price of its drug, Firdapse, at $375,000 a year.

“This week marks a victory for patients with LEMS and American taxpayers, and a blow to the greed of Big Pharma. Suffering patients used to receive life-saving medication for free from Jacobus Pharmaceuticals—until a competitor, Catalyst, bought the rights to the drug, received market exclusivity, and started charging $375,000 a year to those in desperate need.

 “I welcome the news that Jacobus Pharmaceuticals has now received approval for its original product to treat pediatric LEMS. I urge Catalyst to respond by lowering its own outrageous prices. If not, Congress must act. No patients should worry about whether they will suffer or die just to increase the obscene profits of a pharmaceutical company.”