A $1.5 million drug? Yes, according to experts. The high cost of drugs is in the news this week with gene therapy for hemophilia expected to cost over $1 million, President Trump making a speech about drug prices, and indication-based pricing all making the headlines. Read on for more from this week’s Innovation Partners BioBlog.
As national attention is focused on rising drug pricing, the first $1 million drug may be on the horizon. Gene therapy aimed at curing hemophilia may carry a hefty price tag of $1.5 million, according to a new report. Hemophilia, a disease that affects the blood’s ability to clot, affects about 20,000 Americans. Current treatment for hemophilia, factor replacement therapy, costs approximately $500,000 to $850,000 per year, per patient. In comparison, a one-time fee of $1.5 million would actually save money.
A cutting-edge new cancer treatment has two different price tags, and it could be the future of how we pay for drugs
The FDA approved a new treatment for blood cancer. Kymriah, made by Novartis, was originally approved for the treatment of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia in people up to age 25. Recent approval expanded to include patients with large B-cell lymphoma. The drug would be priced differently according to its treatment purpose, with a price of $373,000 for one-time treatment and $475,000 for treating pediatric leukemia. This new “indication based” price is highly controversial, with proponents claiming it links outcomes to pricing and opponents stating it may raise prices for all.
President Trump is scheduled to give a speech about drug prices. The long-awaited speech is expected to tackle several key points including building public pressure against drug companies for high prices. The president has not released a copy of his speech, and the industry is waiting anxiously for the final delivery and further indication of the president’s thoughts on the high cost of drugs.
Cigna Chief Executive Officer David Cordani said in an interview recently that he is ready to discuss changes in how prescription drugs are priced and sold in the United States. Cigna Corporation recently took over one of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefits managers. Rebates from drug manufacturers are one of the areas Cordani says may change and evolve.
A review of major pathway vendors revealed that most met the ASCO criteria for being expert-driven, patient-focused, up to date, and comprehensive. The study found that vendors planned to offer integrated, cost effective technology and decision support. There was, however, variation as to their accomplishments. Some met only a portion of the criteria, such as not being integrated with an electronic health record.
Sanofi and Regeneron cut the price of Praluent, a $14,600 cholesterol medicine in exchange for easier access for patients covered by Express Scripts. The new price tag puts the drug at $4,500 to $8,000 per year. Praluent will also be the only one in its class covered on Express Scripts’ 25 million-member National Preferred Formulary Plan. The plan excludes a competing medicine made by Amgen, the companies said Tuesday.