Opdivo Reignites the Drug Pricing Discussion

While Sovaldi is still fresh on the mind, Ono Pharmaceutical's Opdivo (nivolumab), marketed jointly with BMS in Japan, has analysts projecting what the treatment might cost in the US.

Ordinarily, a Japanese regulatory ruling on a new drug’s price would merit little more than a passing mention, but this is no ordinary drug; it’s Opdivo, the first representative of the new anti-PD-1 class that represents an oncology revolution.

The ruling was revealed by the Japan ministry on Friday, but — perhaps because it is available only in Japanese – has not been noted by many investors. Opdivo, known generically as nivolumab, has been filed under a rolling US submission, and the Japanese price gives the first hard indication as to whether consensus 2020 revenue of over $6bn is achievable.

Ono Pharmaceuticals, Opdivo’s originator, has negotiated a price of ¥150,200 ($1,459) per 20mg vial of Opvido, and ¥729,849 for 100mg. Opdivo had been approved for treating melanoma in Japan on July 4, and one of Ono’s more interesting analyses equates the above prices to a cost of $64,090 per patient per year in this indication.

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Source: EP Vantage