How Much Does H.P. Acthar Gel Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  September 5, 2018

H.P. Acthar Gel (corticotropin), a member of the corticotropin drug class, is often prescribed to help treat infantile spasms and multiple sclerosis.  You can view the entire list of the treatments the drug can treat here.

How much does H.P. Acthar Gel cost?

According to GoodRX.com, the costs of two 80 units/ml vials, without any health insurance, will cost close to $80,000 or close to $40,000 per vial injection, making it one of the most on the most expensive drugs on the market today.  With a treatment regimen requiring at least three vials over the course of a few weeks, the total can surpass the low six figures.

In a 60-minute report, one vial, since 2014, now costs more than $40,000 a vial, a total increase of more than 100-thousand percent since the price of $40 per vial in 2001.  The price increase was partly due to its acquisition by Mallinckrodt, a pharmaceutical company that continues to make “modest” price adjustments.  CNBC also noted that Express Scripts, a company that also owns a company known as CuraScript, exclusively distributes Acthar to hospitals, keeping the price high, according to that 60-minute investigation.

A CNN investigation cited a doctor who noted the costs are now more than $23,000 a vial, up from the $1,500 a vial when the medicine was first introduced to the market.

Does insurance cover Acthar Gel?

According to GoodRx.com’s research, the results are mixed, with only 35 percent of Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans covering the drug.  Medicare, in 2013 and 2014, spent more than $650 million on the drug.  The same can be said about private insurance coverage as well, meaning that only you can know the answer as there are hundreds upon hundreds of health insurance policies on the market.  If you want to know if the drug is covered, we highly recommend you either contact your local pharmacy, insurance company and/or doctor’s office for more information.

For instance, the CNN investigation cited earlier noted the family interviewed did have the treatment fully covered, only after “wrestling” with their insurance company, with the company balking a second time when treatment was needed yet again when the seizures had returned.  In the end, however, they noted insurance companies will cover the medication in almost every case for infantile spasms, with Mallinckrodt participating in the National Organization for Rare Disorders program, a program which can help offer the medication for free to uninsured patients.

H.P. Acthar Gel side effects

According to eMedicineHealth, common side effects may include the following:

This is not a complete list of side effects as others may occur.  Talk to your doctor for medical advice about the side effects you may see.

Tips to know

In 2017, the drugmaker, Mallinckrodt, was fined $100 million for hiking the price more than 85,000%.


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