This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Catalyst Pharma Profiteering Assailed by LEMS Patients, Doctors

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Fred Kellerman's normal, active life will end if Catalyst Pharmaceuticals (CPRX) succeeds in charging patients with a rare neuromuscular disease a sky-high price for access to an old drug they now get for free.

"I will become a vegetable," says Kellerman, a 74-year-old retiree living in Las Vegas with Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome (LEMS).

Right now, Kellerman walks and swims daily because severe muscle weakness -- the hallmark symptom of LEMS -- is kept in check with 3,4-Dap, a drug he gets free of charge from Jacobus Pharmaceuticals, a small, private New Jersey drug maker.

Catalyst Pharmaceuticals is developing its own version of the LEMS drug known as Firdapse. 3,4-Dap and Firdapse are equally helpful for LEMS patients, but Catalyst is likely to charge $60,000 or more if it receives FDA approval, which would also block Jacobus from being able to supply 3,4-Dap for free.

"I live on Social Security and there is no way I could afford the co-pay if Catalyst gets Firdapse approved," says Kellerman. "Without 3,4-Dap, I will not be able to walk. I will go back to being bed ridden. I'll be a vegetable. Catalyst is not interested in helping LEMS patients at all, They're only interested in getting their stock price higher."

Kellerman and others accuse Catalyst of profiteering off LEMS patients because the company did not invent Firdapse. Instead, Catalyst is exploiting a loophole in U.S. law which allows companies to seek FDA approval for older drugs, which for a variety of reasons were never formally reviewed by regulators.

3,4-Dap is one of these "non-marketed" drugs. For more than 20 years, Jacobus has been making and supplying 3,4-Dap to LEMS patients under free, compassionate use programs supervised by doctors across the country. As I reported last week, Jacobus is also seeking FDA approval for 3,4-Dap because the company's founders want to prevent Catalyst from using orphan drug laws to rip off LEMS patients with high-priced Firdapse.

"David and Laura Jacobus are the most magnificent people in the world," says Kellerman, referring to the father-daughter team who run Jacobus Pharmaceuticals. "They're caring people who want to make a living but are not out to screw anybody."
1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
CPRX $1.73 0.00%
AAPL $93.70 0.00%
FB $101.91 0.00%
GOOG $683.11 0.00%
TSLA $150.47 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 15,660.18 -254.56 -1.60%
S&P 500 1,829.08 -22.78 -1.23%
NASDAQ 4,266.8370 -16.7550 -0.39%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs