Anne Barmettler, MD, an associate professor of ophthalmology, visual sciences, and plastic surgery at Montefiore Medical Center, discusses the cost of teprotumumab for thyroid eye disease.
Although teprotumumab is the first treatment for thyroid eye disease to gain FDA approval, its cost has served as a barrier to treatment uptake by providers, said Anne Barmettler, MD, an associate professor of ophthalmology, visual sciences, and plastic surgery at Montefiore Medical Center.
How has provider uptake of teprotumumab been since the drug's approval?
Teprotumumab is very exciting for both doctors and patients because it is the first drug available for thyroid eye disease. The issue with it is that it is extremely expensive, and it isn't just a medication that you can take easily. It's an infusion that has to be done every 3 weeks for 24 weeks. So it's a commitment and you need to have a way of getting that infusion into the patient. So that, plus the cost of the medication and monitoring for side effects has made it a little bit tougher for everyone to get this into their practice.
Has the steep price tag of teprotumumab stymied uptake?
Yes, the answer is definitely yes. So, for an average-sized adult the price tag is around $300,000 per person. Understandably, insurance companies are really hesitant to pay for this because they could treat a lot of other people with that same amount of money. So there have been a number of issues in place with insurance companies not wanting to cover this medication unless other treatments have been tried and failed, or certain exam criteria have been met and documented. Those are definitely things that are slowing down its use.