Rival cholesterol drugs Praluent and Repatha struggled as insurance companies and benefit managers made it difficult for patients to get the treatment. Because they were so expensive, even for patients with a genetic disorder that causes super-high cholesterol, insurers rejected the drugs 63 percent of the time. Now, both of their list prices have been cut, a move that could possibly hint at a change in the drug pricing system on the horizon. In other pharmaceutical news, brain cancer drugs, fatty liver disease and vaccines.
Stat: Regeneron And Sanofi Cut Praluent Price, Matching Amgen Move
Regeneron and Sanofi will cut the price of their cholesterol drug Praluent by 60 percent to $5,850 a year, matching an unprecedented move that rival Amgen made with its medicine Repatha, the drug makers said Monday. The two cholesterol drugs are now becoming an experiment in drug pricing. Praluent and Repatha were once expected to generate more than $1 billion in annual sales each. In 2015, executives at CVS Health, the pharmacy benefit manager, warned that together the medicines, which are given as injections, could cost the U.S. health care system $150 billion. (Herper, 2/11)
Stat: In Small Brain Cancer Study, Immunotherapy Results In Extended Survival
Giving patients with lethal brain tumors a powerful new form of cancer treatment before they underwent surgery helped them live longer on average than patients who started the drugs after surgery, researchers reported in a study published Monday. While the study was small, and while most patients still died by the end of the study period, researchers said the results suggested timing could be an important factor when trying to treat glioblastoma, or GBM, with immunotherapies, which are designed to unleash the immune system on cancer cells. (Joseph, 2/11)
Stat: Gilead Sciences Posts Negative Results In Late-Stage NASH Trial
A readout from the first late-stage clinical trial intended to treat the fatty liver disease known as NASH has delivered disappointing results. Gilead Sciences said Monday that its experimental drug, called selonsertib, failed to improve liver scarring compared to a placebo in a Phase 3 clinical trial. The study enrolled nearly 900 patients with compensated cirrhosis, an advanced form of NASH at higher risk for liver-related death. (Feuerstein, 2/11)
Kaiser Health News: Vaccine Storage Too Often Fails To Meet Standards
By correcting one potential error, the Ventura County (Calif.) Health Care Agency accidentally made another — and jeopardized vaccines given to thousands of people in the process. In October 2017, county health officials, concerned that vaccines were getting too warm while being transported to clinics, changed their protocol. But a routine audit in November found that the ice packs they were using may have frozen some of the medicines and lowered their effectiveness. The agency then offered to reimmunize everyone who had received a vaccine that was delivered in faulty packaging. (Heredia Rodriguez, 2/12)
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