Free Market Makes Asp of Itself?
October 1, 2012 11:46 PM Subscribe
posted by maxwelton (69 comments total)
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If you're thinking about being bitten by a coral snake
in the United States, you may want to do so before the end of the month. October 31, 2012
is the extended-extended-extended-expiration date for batch 4030026 of the only FDA-approved antivenin for coral snake bites. (Antivenin shortages
are not uncommon, surprisingly enough.)
FDA-approved coral snake antivenin has not been available new since 2003, as Wyeth Pharmaceuticals ceased its manufacture, citing a lack of profit. Antivenin from non-FDA-approved sources exists, but the $3-5M estimated cost of FDA approval
(borne by the manufacturer) and the few doses used per year mean it's a non-starter for the manufacturer of Coralmyn, for example.
Coral snakes are shy and would rather flee than bite the roughly 100 people per year
in the US they do. But about three quarters of those bites introduce venom, and that's Serious Business; there is little localized pain, but death by respiratory failure can follow anywhere from 2 hours to a couple of days later. Untreated bites have a mortality rate of roughly 10%.