Questcor Pharmaceuticals

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A remarkable transformation from obscure to blockbuster wonder drug: In the early 1990s, anti-inflammatory Acthar Gel sold for $50 per vial. Questor bought rights to the low-key drug in 2001 and began marketing it widely as a wonder drug used to treat kids with severe seizures. In 2007, Acthar’s price increased from $1,650 to a whopping $23,000 for a 5-milliliter vial. The company explained that the astronomical price hike was needed to keep the drug available on the small, rare diseases market. Today, a vial costs $28,000 and Questor has seen its annual revenues surge 97% in the past three years. In April, Questor was bought by Dublin-based pharma Mallinckrodt for $5.6 billion. —Vivian Giang

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