A scorpion antivenom that has been available in Mexico for years was recently approved by the United States. However, this has not made things easier for American victims of scorpion stings. Hospitals are billing as much as $12,467 per vial of antivenom.
A typical treatment requires three to five vials to help victims, causing hospital bills to exceed $62,000. The antivenom is still available in Mexico for a fraction of the price. Dr. Alejandro Alagon is a scientist who advises Instituto Bioclon of Mexico, which makes the drug. He explains that this is just another example of rare drugs holding high price tags in the United States.
Brian Tiffany, an emergency-medicine doctor hopes that the problem won’t last long. He explains that because the drug is new, insurance companies are not paying. He hopes the price will be lowered or insurance companies will cover the antivenom over time.
Tiffany is also worried that the hefty price tag with cause victims to forgo the treatment leading to equally expensive trips the hospital’s intensive care unit. Many experts believe that issues like this will only drive more medical travel to Mexico.