After a lot of time spent sitting on the fence about progesterone injections, I finally gave in to my doctor’s advice and let a nurse stick a needle in my behind once a week for nine weeks during my last pregnancy.
The injections were an attempt to prevent me from delivering prematurely, because my middle son was born early and I had preterm labor that had to be stopped with medication during all of my pregnancies.
It worked. Sort of. I still had preterm labor in my sixth month that required hospitalization and medication, and I gave birth to my third son three weeks early, but at 37 weeks gestation, he was considered full-term.
Without the injections, I highly doubt that I would have made it that far.
Right after Daegan’s birth, the same progesterone injections that I received during my pregnancy finally became approved by the FDA for the prevention of preterm labor.
Up until this point, doctors were prescribing the drug “off-label” and using compounding pharmacies to obtain the injections.
The PIO injections that I was getting were shipped directly to my doctor’s office for about $20 a shot.
However, once the FDA approved the drug, the company that markets the drug under the brand name Makena, sent letters to compounding pharmacies demanding that they stop producing the drug. Then they set the price of one injection of Makena up from $20 to $1500.
Subsequent outrage ensued. In response, the makers of Makena, dropped their price in half, to $690.
Which means, a normal prescribed course of treatment, which is 20 weeks, will cost about $13,800.
Still far more than the $400 that the compounding pharmacies were charging for the same exact drug.
It’s completely outrageous.
What bothers me the most is that the pharmaceutical company is willing to turn out a disgustingly huge profit at the expense of risking the lives of babies.
Not just babies. My future babies.
Because of my history, progesterone injections will probably be a necessity for any future pregnancies I may have.
But I can’t drop $690 a week on injections.
I don’t know of many people who could.
Thankfully, the FDA is still allowing the compounding pharmacies to make the drug as a generic at an affordable price. I’m also happy to state that the March of Dimes, one of my favorite organizations, has terminated it’s relationship with the makers of Makena.
That means that my initial fears of not being able to receive the drug next time around can probably be put to rest.
At least, let’s hope so.