Spravato (generic name esketamine) is the newly patented and newly FDA approved modification of ketamine. It’s been released by Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. with much fanfare. They claim it’s a new kind of drug for treatment-resistant depression. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find any advantages Spravato might have over ketamine. Cost certainly isn’t one of the advantages.
Our research finds that Spravato will wholesale at $590 to $885 per dose! Spravato calls for eight doses in the first 30 days, then weekly for the maintenance phase. Does that mean Spravato costs $5,600 to get started and then about $3,000 per month to keep going? No. It’s going to be much more than that.
First, let’s keep in mind, that’s just the wholesale cost. But, more importantly, Spravato treatment can only be delivered at a medical clinic. Patients are supposed to be monitored for at least 2 hours after each treatment. That’s longer than a normal IV ketamine visit. Not only will patients pay retail costs for the drug, they will need to pay for the same professional services and maybe more monitoring than with the generic drug ketamine.
Severe, treatment-resistant depression is a major problem. It’s certainly worth the money if people can get their lives back. The problem is ketamine is already available at a dramatically lower cost. At Charlotte Ketamine center, the entire cost of an IV ketamine session is less than the wholesale cost of just the Spravato drug – not counting the professional services. The entire cost of our nebulized ketamine treatments is less than a third of the wholesale cost of the Spravato drug alone! So why are people doing this? Perhaps because no one has shown them the research on both ketamine and Spravato. The evidence suggests that ketamine is more effective than Spravato.