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Readers Choose Top Healthcare News of 2015
January 01, 2016 – Laura Joszt
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Readers Choose Top Healthcare News of 2015

Laura Joszt
During the last month of 2015, The American Journal of Managed Care asked readers to choose what they thought was the top healthcare story from the year. Options included overall themes from the year and specific events.
During the last month of 2015, The American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC) asked readers to choose what they thought was the top healthcare story from the year. Options included overall themes from the year (eg rising drug costs) and specific events (eg CMS’ proposal to pay for end-of-life care).
 
As we start a new year, here is a look back at the top 5 healthcare stories of 2015.
 
5. (tie)  FDA Approves PCSK9 Inhibitors to Treat High Cholesterol
In July 2015, FDA approved the first in a new class of anti-cholesterol drugs, the PCSK9 inhibitor alirocumab (Praluent). Although Sanofi and Regeneron’s therapy was the first to be approved, its competitor, Amgen’s evolocumab (Repatha) was approved just a month later.
 
These PCSK9 inhibitors had been highly anticipated as studies found the drugs dramatically lowered “bad” cholesterol. However, these therapies come at a price: more than $14,000 a year. And with between 3.5 and 15 million Americans potentially eligible for the PCSK9 inhibitors, the cost to the US healthcare system could be astronomical.
 
After Repatha was approved, Express Scripts and CVS Health both announced they would generally not cover the drugs until they cleared their pharmacy and therapeutics committees.
 
Ultimately, Express Scripts announced in October that it would cover both PCSK9 inhibitors. While it declined to disclose the discount levels it had negotiated, the pharmacy benefit manager did reveal that it expected to spend $750 million on the 2 drugs in 2016.
 
Meanwhile, CVS Health announced in November that it would give preferred position to Repatha and UnitedHealth announced in December that it was listing Praluent as the preferred PCSK9 on its formularies.
 


 
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