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$32K for scorpion antivenin in Arizona hospitals?

Posted at 10:37 PM, Aug 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-08 08:38:31-04

Imagine your child's life is in danger. You'd do anything and pay anything to save them, but some question whether drug companies and hospitals are taking advantage of price gouging in a desperate moment.

Consider the example of one mom, one drug, and something we see in Arizona all the time.

Griffin Baxter, 2, likes to get into everything. One day in May, his mom Lindsey Baxter noticed something was wrong.

"He kind of whimpered from his room a little."

The toddler was showing signs of a seizure. She called her step-mom who's a pediatrician, then they discovered he'd been bitten by a scorpion.

He wasn't doing well, but they got the little boy to the hospital in the nick of time.

While scorpion stings are not usually deadly, they can be life threatening to young children. Doctors at Cardon Children's Hospital gave him a dose of Anascorp, which is scorpion antivenin. Within an hour, Griffin showed no signs of trouble.

But then she got the bill, and it was $32,000. Anascorp is made in Mexico and has only been approved for use in the U.S. for the last six years. 

South of the border, the same drug costs between $150 to $300 for a three vial dose. Here, hospitals charge more than $10,000 per vile.

The boy's pricey dose was mostly covered by insurance, but the family still had to pay $5,500. 

She said she'd do it all over again, but questions why the price is so expensive.