New Cholesterol Drugs too ExpensiveBy Rashmi Kalia
A draft report by an independent non-profit organization has revealed that the prices of a class of cholesterol lowering drugs just approved by the FDA were far too high, NBC news reports.
The Boston-based Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) that drafted the report evaluates the clinical efficacy and cost effectiveness of new medicines.
The Food and Drug Administration has recently approved two brands of the injectable drugs, called PCSK9 inhibitors.
According to NBC news, research firm GlobalData said that the drugs could generate $17.5 billion in sales by 2023 because they will be so expensive.
Praluent, made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi will cost $14,600 for a year while Amgen Inc set an annual price of $14,100 for its version, called Repatha. However, ICER said that the overall benefits that the drugs may provide patients would be worth between $3,615 and $4,811 a year.
"Even if these drugs were used in just over 25 percent of eligible patients, then employers, insurers, and patients would need to spend on average more than $20 billion a year for these drugs," ICER president Steven Pearson said in a statement.
"There are serious questions regarding the price at which these drugs would represent a sensible value to patients and to the health care system," the report said.
Both the companies issued statements in response to the draft report by ICER.
Amgen said it does not agree with ICER's methodology, assumptions and preliminary conclusions while Regeneron said it would like to better understand the methodology used in the ICER analysis and called for a peer review process.
"We are concerned that ... its short term budgetary focus will be used to create access barriers to innovative medicines like Repatha for appropriate patients," Amgen spokeswoman Kristen Neese said in an emailed statement.
"We are committed to providing affordable medicines and ensuring access to Praluent for patients who are prescribed the therapy," Regeneron spokeswoman Hala Mizra said.