[Reposted: Jalpa A. Doshi, Justin Puckett, Michael S. Parmacek, and Daniel J. Rader. Balancing Affordability And Access: Lessons From New Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs, Health Affairs Blog, June 5, 2018. https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20180604.549026/full: Copyright ©2018 Health Affairs by Project HOPE – The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.]
PCSK9Is offer a fascinating case study in the intersections between pharmaceutical innovation, specialty drug pricing, real world budget concerns, and patient access. This is not the first time PCSK9Is have been the focus of media attention. They reignited national debate about the high cost of medications and the need to rein in prescription drug spending in the wake of their approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the summer of 2015. Their efficacy in lowering stubbornly high LDL cholesterol was impressive; however, payers were concerned with their list price (approximately $14,000), as well as the absence of data at launch showing that the cholesterol reductions were accompanied by lower rates of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes.