Cholesterol Drugs Are About To Be More Expensive: Cigna Inks Deal With Amgen & Sanofi For Results-Based Medicine Cost

By Samantha Finch, Parent Herald May 11, 10:47 pm
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Cholesterol drugs are about to get pricier. Cigna, an American world health services company, has inked a results-based deal with two manufacturers of cholesterol drugs.

Results-Based Strategy

With the new agreements, the cost of cholesterol drugs will get more expensive if customers do not lessen their bad LDL cholesterol, Reuters reported. If the medication met or exceeded a patient's cholesterol reduction, the price of the drugs is at a fixed point.

The cholesterol drugs affected by Cigna's deal are Amgen's Repatha and Praluent, which is manufactured by Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. These medications cost more than $14,000 annually and are intended for patients who have high chances of developing cardiovascular diseases due to their incapability to control their LDL cholesterol with other known cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins.

Both Repatha and Praluent were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2015, BusinessWire wrote. These specialty medications belong to a new type of drugs called PCSK9 inhibitors.

There are no price controls on prescription medicines in the U.S. This is why insurers and pharmacy benefit managers are coming up with measures to demand price hikes to customers and restricting their access to more expensive new drugs.

Aside from its results-based deal with Amgen, Sanofi and Regeneron, Cigna also inked agreements with other pharmaceutical firms for heart failure, diabetes, hepatitis C and multiple sclerosis, BusinessWire listed. High cholesterol levels usually lead to heart diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

UK Backs Cholesterol Medications From Amgen & Sanofi

Britain's healthcare public body recently expressed its support for Repatha and Praluent, Yahoo reported (via Reuters). Both Amgen and Sanofi offered discounts to the country's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, or NICE, for the drugs.

In Britain, both medications are priced more than 4,000 pounds ($5,780) per patient each year. The drugs' price is more expensive in the U.S. at around $14,000.

New Drug Lowers Cholesterol Without Side Effects

OptiBiotix, a biotech company in the U.K., recently developed a capsule that is touted to carry a supercharged enzyme that lowers bad cholesterol in patients, Express reported. Tests conducted showed that the drug, which contains microbial strains, does not have the same side effects seen in statins.

Experts are hopeful that the new drug will be further developed to the point that statins can be replaced or lowered. The medication is cheaper than statins, retailing at around £9 ($13). Optibiotix is also developing microbial strains to avert and manage diabetes and obesity.

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