How Should PCKS9 Inhibitors Be Priced?

SEPTEMBER 09, 2015
A story in today’s Wall Street Journal adds fuel to the growing concern that some drugs are priced too high. 
How the cost of a drug should be determined has been an issue throughout my career. It usually becomes a bigger issue when a number of new expensive drugs hit the market around the same time. 
This seems to be the case for the newly approved PCSK9 inhibitors. 
A report recently issued by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review in Boston suggests that this new class of cholesterol-lowering drugs is overpriced. According to the report, the price of PCSK9 inhibitors needs to be more than 80% lower in order to be cost effective.
I don’t know if this report is free from biases or if the methodology it used includes everything that it should, but I do know that the marketplace uses differing perspectives to allow payers to develop fairer pricing, so let’s see what happens to the price of Praluent and Repatha in the near future.
Without adequate return on investment, new drug treatments will not be developed. But if most patients can’t afford the treatments, then there is not much use for them.
The balance comes from bringing these competing perspectives together in the marketplace. Let’s see how it works in this situation.