Cost of new cholesterol drugs outweigh the benefit, new analysis finds

Cost of new cholesterol drugs outweigh the benefit, new analysis finds

New treatment could be costly.

Recent news about two new cholesterol fighting drugs has been tempered with a new analysis that say the new drugs are extremely overpriced for the benefit they provide.

The new study, reported on WebMD, from the nonprofit institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), says the drugs, Repatha and Praluent, have a yearly price tag of over $14,000.  These new injectable drugs are known as PCSK9 inhibitors, which can lead to reduced LDL-cholesterol.

An earlier trial found that these type cholesterol fighting drugs could lower the level of LDL by as much as 55-60 percent in patients who have not been successfully lowering their levels with low-cost statin drugs, or patients that found statins to be intolerable.

The report said the cost would be more inline with the expected value of the drugs in preventing heart attacks and death, if the yearly cost was in the $3,615 to $4,811 range.

Dr. Steven Pearson, the founder and president of ICER, said in a statement, “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.”

Amgen, the manufacturer of Repatha responded by releasing a statement saying, “we are concerned that ICER’s review does not place value on addressing a significant unmet medical need, and its short-term budgetary focus will be used to create access barriers to innovative medicines like Repatha for appropriate patients.”

The maker of Praluent responded that they had not had time to review the new study, but through a spokeswoman commented a “robust and open peer-review process is essential.”

A large clinical trial of the drugs is under way, and the exact benefit from each of the new medicines may not be fully understood until the trial is completed sometime in 2017.


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