January 2, 2013

Questcor Finds Profits, at $28,000 a Vial

By Logan Lafferty

The doctor was dumbfounded: a drug that used to cost $50 was now selling for $28,000 for a 5-milliliter vial…The story of Questcor’s wonder drug begins in Rochester, Minn. It was there, at the Mayo Clinic, that Dr. Philip S. Hench spent more than 20 years searching for what he called Substance X. Dr. Hench, a rheumatologist, hypothesized that the body could make a compound that stilled the immune system’s attacks on the joints of people with rheumatoid arthritis. It turned out that another Mayo researcher, Dr. Edward C. Kendall, had isolated six hormones made by the adrenals, the small glands atop the kidneys that are chiefly responsible for releasing stress hormones. When a few patients were injected with one of the hormones in 1948, their symptoms subsided.

Additional Coverage: Mpls St. Paul Business Journal,

New York Times by Andrew Pollack

Tags: adrenals, Dr. Edward Kendall, Dr. Philip Hench, immune system, Immunology, Mayo Clinic Rochester, New York Times, Preventive Medicine, Questcor, rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatology, Substance X

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