You are here

Novartis’s Orphan Drug Ilaris May Help Heart Attack Survivors, Study Shows

But the $16,000 price tag is a problem

A recent clinical trial showed that a drug used for a small coterie of patients suffering from rare inflammatory disorders can reduce the risks of serious complications in people who have suffered a heart attack.

The drug, called ACZ885 (brand name Ilaris), is manufactured by Novartis, which now faces a dilemma, reports the Wall Street Journal. It costs $16,000 per dose. “If the drug does pan out with regulators, Novartis would have to drastically cut its price to make it competitive with other cardiovascular drugs,” the newspaper reports. “That would mean jettisoning a small, but reliable, revenue stream on an uncertain bet that the drug could become a top seller as a cardiovascular medicine.”

It’s a pickle, as Novartis knows. A company spokesperson tells the WSJ: “We will continue to fully analyze the data, plan to discuss these with regulatory agencies, and determine how it would fit into clinical practice.”

Novartis made about $288 million last year selling Ilaris. It could possibly make $3.6 billion selling to heart attack patients, even if it greatly reduced the price. “If approved for use in patients recovering from a heart attack, ACZ885’s potential market would skyrocket: around 615,000 people in the U.S. survive a heart attack every year, according to the American Heart Association,” the WSJ reports. “Novartis estimates that the drug, which helps patients who also suffer from inflammation in the arteries, could be suitable in around 40% of those cases.”

Source: Wall Street Journal; July 12, 2017.

More Headlines

Hospitalization rate rises; 13 more pediatric deaths reported
Study shows improved performance for FluMist quadrivalent vaccine
Patients take oral GLP-1 analogue as a single daily tablet
Lancet publishes meta-analysis pooling almost 120,000 patients
Two out of three women achieve a clinical response
Nearly 68% of patients treated with AR101 could tolerate peanut protein
Tablets are also indicated to treat drug-induced extrapyramidal reactions
But lawmakers are far from united on the issue
New CEO believes “breakthrough innovations” are key to future growth