While Amgen announced a massive 60 percent reduction on the price of its PCSK9 drug Repatha, it does little to address the core challenge of promoting innovation and access to treatments for cardiovascular disease, according to a blog post published in Health Affairs.
Repatha, which launched in 2015 and shared a $14,000-plus list price with its competitor, Praluent, struggled to post desired sales numbers following frequent and heavy push back from payers that denied coverage for roughly half of the prescriptions, according to the post by the University of California’s James Robinson.
“Payers accused the manufacturers of pricing at levels that would bankrupt the health care system, while manufacturers accused payers of unethically blocking access for patients whose lives were at risk,” he writes.
Despite the price decrease, patient access remains a key concern for cardiovascular therapies.
“The PCSK9 pricing drama stemmed in part from the lack of a simple way to ensure that expensive new drugs targeting residual unmet needs would only be used by patients non-responsive to existing therapies,” Robinson writes.