Repatha's Price in Europe Far Less Than What America Will Pay

Although Repatha and Praluent, the first of a new class of cholesterol-lowering drugs, come with a hefty price in the United States, they will cost 50% to 60% less in Europe.

Repatha and Praluent represent the first 2 in a new class of cholesterol-lowering drugs to be approved by the FDA, and they come at with a hefty price tag. Amgen's Repatha (evolocumab) has a list price of $14,100 a year, and Praluent (alirocumab), from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, will cost $14,600 a year.

However, news from Europe may inflame Americans' discontent with the price they pay for medicines.

price in other European Union markets has yet to be determined

According to Reuters, Repatha will cost 50% to 60% less in Europe. Amgen announced it would charge approximately $6780 a year in Britain, $8220 in Austria, and $8820 in Finland; meanwhile the . Original projections for the US price were around $7000 to $12,000 a year. Praluent is still awaiting final European approval.

An Amgen spokesperson told Reuters that the difference in prices chosen for Europe and the United States reflects the "unique healthcare environment and marketplace of different countries." With demand in Europe for drugs often curbed by budget-conscious governments and agencies set up specifically to assess new drug use, companies often set lower prices in Europe.

PCSK9 inhibitors have been shown to reduce bad cholesterol levels by up to 60%, and with millions of people who could benefit from the therapy, these drugs could "wreak financial havoc," Express Scripts President Tim Wentworth had said during a conference call after Praluent's price was initially announced.

If Repatha and Praluent were prescribed to just 40% of Americans with abnormally high cholesterol who did not respond to the use of statins, the US could see an additional $2.1 billion annually in new costs, Pharmacy Times reported.

In the US, the FDA approved Praluent and Repatha with similar indications and took a more cautious approach than European regulators, who approved Repatha for broader use.

Following the approval of Repatha and the subsequent announcement of its price, Express Scripts and CVS Health both said they would generally not cover these drugs until pharmacy and therapy (P&T) committees complete evaluations.

“We would only exclude one of these products if our P&T committee determines that the product we cover is at least clinically equivalent to the one we exclude," Express Scripts Chief Medical Officer Steve Miller, MD, said in a statement. "And only then would we exclude one of these products if that exclusion would deliver significant savings for our clients and patients.”