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U.S. lawmakers seek pricing info on PTC Therapuetics' Duchenne drug

March 22 Two U.S. lawmakers sent a letter on Wednesday to PTC Therapeutics Inc, seeking information about the drugmaker's pricing strategy for its recently acquired muscle-wasting disorder drug.

PTC said last week that it would buy Marathon Pharmaceuticals LLC's recently approved Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug (DMD), Emflaza, and promised to re-examine the hefty U.S. price tag for the treatment, known generically as deflazacort.

Marathon did not invent deflazacort and patients in the United States had been able to import it for as little as $1,000, but lost that option after Emflaza's controversial U.S. approval in February.

Marathon slapped a $89,000-per-patient annual price tag on Emflaza, drawing intense criticism from U.S. lawmakers and forcing it halt the steroid's launch.

"We urge you to keep the price of this relatively common steroid at its current importation cost," Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Elijah Cummings wrote in a letter to PTC Chief Executive Stuart Peltz. (bit.ly/2newjOw)

The lawmakers also requested to know if the company intends to pursue an additional approval of deflazacort as an orphan drug to treat juvenile arthritis.

Deflazacort belongs to a class of drugs called corticosteroids that are frequently used to treat DMD and other conditions.

Independent Senator Sanders and Cummings, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, had also questioned Marathon's exorbitant price tag.

PTC Therapeutics did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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