Independent group says new Glaxo asthma drug far too expensive
BOSTON – An independent nonprofit organization that evaluates clinical and cost effectiveness of new medicines found the price of GlaxoSmithKline’s new drug for severe asthma should be as much as 76 percent lower to justify its value, according to the group’s latest draft report.
The Boston-based Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) said its analysis indicated that Glaxo’s Nucala should be priced at $7,800 to about $12,000 a year, far below the drug’s list price of $32,500 a year.
It found that once-monthly injectable Nucala, which won US approval last month, significantly reduces asthma attacks and symptoms and decreases the need for oral steroids. However, it found that the price was not cost-effective, and that there is uncertainty about whether the benefits will persist over the long term because of the short duration of clinical trials.
Glaxo, in an emailed statement, said it supports the work of ICER but disagrees with its conclusion. It said controlling severe asthma attacks helps reduce direct and indirect costs to the healthcare system, such as the need for urgent care visits and hospitalizations.
“We believe that Nucala is fairly priced, balancing innovation and market value with patient access,” Glaxo spokeswoman Sarah Spencer said.
In the same report, ICER found Novo Nordisk’s long-acting insulin Tresiba, which will compete with Sanofi’s big-selling Lantus, to be reasonably priced. It said the list price of $7,800 per year was about 8 to 10 percent too high, but that that was “well within the range of typical discounts available to payers.”
The report found that Tresiba, which gained US approval in September, provides moderate certainty of equivalent blood sugar control with a reduction in nocturnal hypoglycemia comparable to other long-acting insulins.
ICER President Steven Pearson, in a statement, said its analyses aim “to help the health care community determine what should be used, which patients benefit most, and at what price innovative treatments represent a reasonable value.”
ICER said the latest draft report will be open to public comment until Jan. 12.
In a previous report, the group found that a potent new class of injectable cholesterol-lowering drugs, one being sold by Amgen and another by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in partnership with Sanofi, should cost about a third of their list prices to keep costs in line with healthcare budgets and the benefit they bring. Those drugs, Repatha and Praluent, list for more than $14,000 a year. -Reuters