Amgen Affirms Evolocumab (Repatha) Price Reduction Across the Board

October 24, 2019

Amgen has set the price of evolocumab (Repatha) in the United States exclusively at $5850 per year as it discontinues the injectable cholesterol-lowering agent's original list price that was several multiples higher, the company announced today.

The reduced price was actually introduced in October 2018 to make the PCSK9 inhibitor's out-of-pocket costs more affordable for many patients, especially those on Medicare, Amgen notes in its press release. But the introductory price tag exceeding $14,000 annually remained in effect for many patients pending updates to third-party payer and benefit-manager contracts, it says.

The new across-the-board price brings evolocumab consistently in line with competitor alirocumab (Praluent, Sanofi/Regeneron), which was made available at $5850 per year in February.

The moves reinforce what has been consistent downward pressure on the cost of the PCSK9 inhibitors in recent years. Adoption of the drugs with their original price tag had been slow despite backing from highly respected clinical trials showing they can push low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels below what is achievable with statins alone.

The prior-authorization approval process with third-party payers proved a substantial hurdle, with many patients denied coverage or confronted with high out-of-pocket costs.

Several recent analyses may have helped influence the affordability trend. One found that cardiovascular risk climbs significantly for patients denied coverage for treatment with a PCSK9 inhibitor or who don't fill prescriptions due to high cost or other reasons.

Another based on the ODYSSEY OUTCOMES trial suggested that alirocumab might be considered cost effective at the threshold of $100,000 per quality-adjusted life-year gained were it priced at $6319 a year.

"Amgen will work with payers, wholesalers, and pharmacies to phase out supply of the original list price national drug codes (NDCs) through the remainder of 2019 and to return any remaining inventory of the discontinued NDCs in 2020," the company said

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