CVS released a new report demanding that the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) introduce modifications for cholesterol treatment in order to reduce the price making it more affordable to average Americans.
In its declaration, CVS commanded that the ACC and AHA go back to concrete numerical thresholds for LDL (harmful cholesterol) levels that were used in 2013. Those numbers came about from a more qualitative approach, according to Modern Readers.
At this time, with no number-based targets available, CVS says they believe doctors have too liberal of a bargaining power when it comes to prescribing more modern and innovative drugs like premium PCSK9. This in turn, steers patients away from generic labels that cost less but have been truly tried, tested and proven effective for decades.
A new drug on the market, Regeneron’s Praluent, marketing itself with an average yearly cost of $15,000. Designed to lower LDL cholesterol levels, it will be welcoming on another similar drug profile from Amgen.
CVS claims that the vague U.S. Food and Drug Administration language used in the 2013 guidelines is leading patients’ attention toward only the newer, more expensive drugs as the only viable option for lifelong solutions to their problem, whether or not they fall within the numerical thresholds.
With this being the case, and millions of Americans spending $15,000 a year on the medication for as many as 50 years, they are most likely investing more money in a brand name drug than they are in their retirement or savings funds, especially for the low-income consumers.
“This class also poses a new challenge for health care payers,” read the prepared statement penned by CVS’ Dr. William H. Shrank and two colleagues. “It is an expensive specialty medication that targets a very common condition; more than 73 million adults (32 percent) in the United States have elevated LDL-C.” He went on to stress that PCSK9 drugs may be prescribed over a very long term, and that government and commercial establishments should “begin to consider thoughtful ways to rationalize the use of these medications.”
Shrank has suggested, and strongly stands by, his belief that pushing statins instead of PCSK9 would be the best approach to the problem. At the same time, he did acknowledge that this plan could be “complicated by recent changes in recommendations for treating hyperlipidemia.”
The Chief Medical Officer of CVS, Dr. Troyen Brennan, said if the AHA and ACC decide not to alter their guidelines that the company would take it upon themselves to start using its own thresholds based on a patient’s medical history.