Marathon Pharmaceuticals said it would pause the launch of its recently-approved Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug after an outcry over Emflaza's $89,000-a-year price tag. The privately-held company said it has heard concerns about the drug's pricing and reimbursement details from the DMD community. "Please know we sought FDA approval of Emflaza to improve access to this treatment," Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Aronin said. "We have and always will support you in that endeavor." He did not say when the drug would be launched, or whether the company would change its price. Under 1,000 patients who receive the drug for free through Marathon's expanded access program will continue to do so, Marathon said. Emflaza, which is a corticosteroid, was only the second DMD drug approved in the U.S., although corticosteroids are used for the degenerative disease in other parts of the world. The first DMD drug, made by Sarepta Therapeutics Inc. , was approved last year and is priced at about $300,000. Some of the patient community's concerns were around whether Emflaza's price would effect health insurance coverage of Sarepta's drug, Aronin said. Sarepta shares have sunk 30.0% over the last three months, compared with a 7.6% rise in the S&P 500 .
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