According to a study, Repatha reduced heart attack and stroke risk by 20 percent, but its $14K a year price tag may keep the drug from getting used, since insurance companies may not see the worth of covering the cost.
Drug maker Amgen saw a 6.4 percent drop in its stock price Friday after a study showed a 20 percent reduction in deaths from heart attacks and strokes over the two-plus years of the study, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Although Repatha lowered LDL (bad) cholesterol better than any other drug on the market today without any of the usual side effects, investors were unsure about whether insurance companies could be persuaded to cover the expensive drug.
Currently, about half of all requests for Repatha are rejected because of the drug’s high cost, the WSJ reported, even though it can decrease LDL to between 50 and 30 (lower than 70 is considered very good).
According to The New York Times, the 20 percent reduction in deaths would mean 74 high-risk patients would have to be treated with the drug for two years to prevent one death, at a cost of around $2 million.
The drug is expected to show even greater reductions as it is taken for a longer time, but even the five-year projected numbers showed a cost of more than a million dollars to prevent one heart attack or other cardiac event.
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