CVS Demands Cost Control for Novel Cholesterol Treatments

Two PCSK9 inhibitors under development-one by Amgen and the other jointly by Sanofi and Regeneron-could eventually cost the US healthcare system $150 billion per year. William Shrank, the chief scientific officer of CVS thinks these costs would be unsustainable for the healthcare industry that is already rattled by the burgeoning cost of specialty medications.

CVS Health on Tuesday warned that costs of a potent new class of cholesterol treatments and other specialty drugs in development could eclipse those of expensive new medicines and overwhelm the healthcare system "if rigid cost control mechanisms are not put in place."

CVS, the second largest U.S. pharmacy benefit manager which negotiates drug prices for 65 million people through contracts with employers and health plans, noted that two of the new injectable cholesterol fighters - called PCSK9 inhibitors - could be approved by mid-2015 and likely each cost $7,000 to $12,000 a year.

All told, PCSK9 inhibitors could eventually cost the healthcare system as much as $150 billion a year and become the highest-selling class of drugs in history, CVS said.

"The resilience and ability of our healthcare system to absorb such high costs will be tested if rigid cost control mechanisms are not put in place," William Shrank, chief scientific officer for CVS, said in a statement.

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