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What Is The Controversy About The Price Of NPS Pharmaceuticals’ Orphan Drug Gattex (Teduglutide) ?

January 5, 2013

       On January 2, 2013, NPS Pharmaceuticals’ President and CEO, Dr. Francois Nader, discusses the FDA approval of orphan drug Gattex (Teduglutide) for Short Bowel Syndrome and identifies the price as  US $295,000/patient/year – more than 3 times what analysts expect. The pricing of Gattex is resulting in debate about its price and the price of orphan drugs in general.

According to a January 3, 2013, article, Gattex is the 4th drug that is approved in 2012 with a price tag of > US $200,000/patient/year. The other 3 drugs are :

– Kalydeco (Ivacaftor) for Cystic Fibrosis (Vertex Pharmaceuticals) – $294,000

– Elelyso for Gaucher Disease (Protalix BioTherapeutics & Pfizer) – $150,000

– Juxtapid (Lomitapide) for Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia (Aegerion Pharmaceuticals) – $200,000 – $300,000.

The article also reviews the methodology and reasoning for the how and why of NPS Pharmaceuticals’ pricing of Gattex. The article concludes that NPS Pharmaceuticals’ pricing and launch strategy for Gattex is similar to what other rare disease companies have done – Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Genzyme, and BioMarin.

Here is the Internet Buzz on the hot topic of NPS Pharmaceuticals’ Gattex pricing :

1) January 3, 2013 article titled, “NPS Pharma: Controversy Over Super-Expensive Orphan Drug Prices”

2) January 3, 2013 article titled, “Inside the Pricing of a $300,000-A-Year Drug”

3) January 3, 2013 article titled, “Analysis: Entering the age of the $1 Million Medicine”.

Is there a relationship between the most expensive U.S. medicines and FDA Orphan Drug Designations (ODDs) ?

The most expensive U.S. medicines happen to be also orphan drugs. Take a look at the top expensive U.S. medicines to see the annual cost per patient and what rare diseases they are indicated for.

Important Note: These lists may not include recent drugs such as Vertex’s CF drug Kalydeco ($294 K/patient/yr ), newly approved Gaucher Disease drug Elelyso, and other orphan drugs.

References Article titled, “20 Expensive Drugs That Could Bankrupt Medicare” Article titled,”The World’s Most Expensive Drugs” Article titled,”The 11 Most Expensive Medications” Article titled, “The 11 Most Expensive Medicines In America”.

Copyright © 2012-2013, Orphan Druganaut Blog. All rights reserved.

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