Health

Amgen sets one lower list price for its cholesterol drug

An Amgen sign is seen at the company’s office in South San Francisco, California October 21, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

(Reuters) – Drugmaker Amgen Inc said on Thursday that starting next year, its official list price for cholesterol drug Repatha will be the lower price it began offering last year to patients on Medicare and those paying for the drug out-of-pocket.

The company launched the lower price option last October, selling the drug to some patients under the list price of $5,850 per year because the drug’s original $14,000-year-list price was too much for many patients in Medicare or with high-deductible plans.

But Amgen still sold the drug under its original list price, because it had already negotiated discounts in contracts with payers like pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) based on that price. At the time, Amgen said $5,850 was in line with what most patients with private insurance were paying for the drug after discounts and rebates.

They said then that they planned on discontinuing the original list price of Repatha by the end of 2020 or sooner.

The list price for drugs is not necessarily what patients actually pay as “out-of-pocket” costs vary based on the duration of the treatment and individual healthcare plans.

Amgen said that the cost for patients covered under its current contracts with PBMs and health plans will pay $5,850 a year or less for Repatha.

It said that standardizing the lower price option will help because some Medicare patients’ prescription drug plans were not able to buy the drug under the lower list price option.

Sales of drugs like Repatha that dramatically lower bad LDL cholesterol by targeting the PCSK9 protein have been constrained by insurers looking to limit spending on the expensive drugs, which compete with cheap statins that cost hundreds of dollars per year.

Reporting by Michael Erman in New York and Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Chizu Nomiyama


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