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Top 10 Most Expensive Drugs of 2013

Soliris takes the prize at nearly $537,000 per year

A new report from FiercePharma explores the ins and outs of the 10 most expensive drugs currently on the U.S. market.

The price of the breakthrough hepatitis C treatment Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) has drawn all of the attention this year, the report says. By pricing it at $85,000 for a 12-week course, Gilead Sciences was criticized by politicians, payers, and providers alike. But, as the new report points out, at that price Sovaldi barely makes it into the top 20 most expensive drugs.

Of the 10 highest-priced treatments on the market, Soliris (eculizumab, Alexion Pharmaceuticals), takes the prize, costing nearly $537,000 per year in 2013. The least expensive is Revlimid (lenalidomide, Celgene), which cost $128,666 per year.

Among the Top 20, only Sovaldi, the breast cancer drug Kadcyla (ado-trastuzumab emtansine, Roche), and the colon cancer treatment Erbitux (cetuximab, Bristol-Myers Squibb) were not “orphan” drugs, approved under a special FDA program to motivate companies to develop treatments for conditions that usually have patient populations of fewer than 200,000. In the case of some rare diseases, such as Maroteaux–Lamy syndrome, for which BioMarin Pharmaceuticals developed Naglazyme (galsulfase), the patient pool may be very small, the report notes. Naglazyme was prescribed to only 64 patients in the U.S. last year.

According to the article, the ten priciest treatments in 2013 included:

1. Soliris (eculizumab, Alexion)

  • Cost: $536,629 per U.S. patient per year
  • Indicated for treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (affects approximately 8,000 Americans) and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome
  • Currently in phase II trials for uses in nephrology and neurology

2. Naglazyme (galsulfase, BioMarin)

  • Cost: $485,747 per U.S. patient per year
  • Approved for treatment of mucopolysaccharidosis type VI (Maroteaux–Lamy syndrome)

3. Kalydeco (ivacaftor, Vertex)

  • Cost: $299,592 per U.S. patient per year
  • First treatment approved to address underlying cause of cystic fibrosis

4. Cinryze (C1 esterase inhibitor [human], Shire)

  • Cost: $230,826 per U.S. patient per year
  • Approved for treatment of hereditary angioedema (affects aproximately 18,000 patients in U.S. and Europe)

5. H.P. Acthar Gel (repository corticotropin injection, Questcor/Mallinckrodt)

  • Cost: $205,681 per U.S. patient per year
  • Approved for treatment of multiple sclerosis and infantile spasms
  • May be used for following disorders and diseases: rheumatic; collagen; dermatologic; allergic states; ophthalmic; respiratory; and edematous state

6. Sprycel (dasatinib, Bristol-Myers Squibb)

  • Cost: $149,762 per U.S. patient per year
  • Approved for treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia
  • More than 75% more expensive than Gleevec (imatinib, Novartis)

7. Pomalyst (pomalidomide, Celgene)

  • Cost: $147,302 per U.S. patient per year
  • Approved for treatment of multiple myeloma
  • Priced slightly higher than key competitor Kyprolis (carfilmozib, Onyx Pharmaceuticals)

8. Xyrem (sodium oxybate, Jazz Pharmaceuticals)

  • Cost: $143,604 per U.S. patient per year
  • Approved for treatment of narcolepsy

9. Erbitux (cetuximab, Merck/Bristol-Myers Squibb)

  • Cost: $137,953 per U.S. patient per year
  • Approved for treatment of advanced colon cancer

10. Revlimid (lenalidomide, Celgene)

  • Cost: $128,666 per U.S. patient per year
  • Approved for treatment of anemia associated with myelodysplastic syndromes; for multiple myeloma; and for mantle-cell lymphoma

Source: FiercePharma; October 14, 2014.

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