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Life-Saving Drug Manufactured Again to Save Baby’s Life

April 19, 1991

NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. (AP) _ A baby boy celebrated his first birthday Thursday with a life-saving gift from a drug manufacturer that announced it was resuming production of a drug to treat his rare adrenal gland disease.

Merck Sharp and Dohme had suspended production of the expensive drug last year after other manufacturers began listing a generic form of the slow- release intravenous cortisone.

The West Point, Pa.- drug manufacturer took the occasion of Andrew Krauss’ birthday to announce it would resume making the drug, which is marketed as Cortone Acetate Sterile Suspension.

At a birthday party at Long Island Jewish Schneider Children’s Hospital, Andrew’s 22-year-old mother, Jaymee, was elated.

″The drug was something he needed or he would die,″ she said. ″This was the only medication he could take without vomiting.″

Cortisone is a naturally occurring steroid hormone that helps control blood pressure and other vital body functions, said Dr. James Hoffman, vice president of medical services at MS&D.

Although other companies were listed as having generic forms of the drug, it turned out that other pharmaceutical houses were only buying the drug from MS&D and reselling it, Hoffman said.

An injection of the medicine releases the proper dose over three days, Hoffman said. It was developed in 1953 for infants and patients who couldn’t take cortisone tablets, or daily injections of other forms of cortisone.

A different intravenous cortisone on the market requires injections every six to eight hours, but the form produced by MS&D only requires a shot every three days and allows Andrew to be cared for at home, said his physician, Dr. Paula Kreitzer, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Schneider Children’s Hospitalshe said.

″It’s a pretty rare condition, where the adrenal glands don’t form correctly and can’t make the hormones, such as steroids,″ Kreitzer said.

She said Andrew wasn’t a good eater and couldn’t tolerate oral cortisone.

Kreitzer said she checked with companies listed in a pharmaceutical guide as having the long-acting cortisone but found none carried it. They all referred her back to MS&D as the original developer of the product, Kreitzer said.

Hoffman said that when MS&D learned of Andrew’s plight, it sent a three- month supply of the suspended cortisone form to the hospital, then decided to resume manufacturing the drug.

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