The FDA has just approved a drug that has caused excitement in the medical community due to its dramatic effects on heart disease, but it could be a pricey option for patients.
Recently we reported on the FDA’s decision to approve Entresto, a new drug from Novartis that has shown an astonishing 20 percent reduction in mortality and hospitalization rates in patients with heart disease, something that has resulted in an excitement from the medical community. But what may be lost in the shuffle is that it may be out of the price range for a lot of patients who need it, particularly those without health insurance.
That’s because Entresto will cost about $12.50 per day, or about $4,500 per year. For those with good health insurance, that might not be a problem, but for those with only partial coverage or no coverage at all, it may be a luxury they simply can’t afford out of pocket — particularly since they’re likely to be paying out the nose for health expenses related to their condition already.
This hefty price tag is expected to be a huge financial boon for drugmaker Novartis, resulting in jolt in shares upon news of the approval from the FDA. The company is so excited about the prospects of the drug that it has ditched convention in not predicting sales of new medication, and instead projects annual sales of $5 billion for the drug. The company is calling it a “once-in-a-lifetime” discovery that could help heart disease patients around the world — that is, if they can afford it, according to a New York Times report.
Those sales figures would make Entresto one of the best-selling medications on Earth. Why so much anticipation? The drug was part of a large clinical trial that showed a 20 percent decrease in the mortality rate for cardiovascular diseases and hospitalizations for heart failure.
A total of five million Americans — 26 million across the globe — suffer from heart failure, which happens when the heart can’t pump enough blood to the body’s organs, resulting in shortness of breath, fatigue, fluid retention issues, and ultimately high blood pressure or a heart attack, which results in hospitalization or even death.
Entresto, dubbed LCZ696 during the development phase, could replace angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors currently used to treat heart failure.
Entresto has a few side effects, including kidney impairment, low blood pressure, and high potassium levels.