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Pricing of Novartis' Entresto about right, concludes ICER

Supports potential for $5bn-a-year brand 
Novartis

The price of Novartis' new heart failure drug Entresto is a tad high but discounting will probably bring it into the right ballpark, according to a cost-effectiveness analysis.

The verdict on Entresto (sacubitril/valsartan) from the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) is a boost for Novartis as it starts the roll-out for the new product, which was approved by the FDA in July.

The draft report from ICER says that at the list price of $4,560 per year, Entresto does not save money over the long term but its added costs "are well-aligned with the degree of benefit it brings to patients."

That means the product can be considered cost-effective over the long term, it continues, although the number of patients eligible to receive it does mean that Entresto will have a massive impact on healthcare budgets.

ICER predicts that up to 2m people could receive the new drug over the next five years and, in order to keep the drugs bill in line, it suggests Entresto should be sold at $3,779 a year, a 17% reduction on the current list price.

"Private insurers and Medicaid programs are frequently able to achieve discounts at this level," it says, noting that some CIGNA has listed Entresto as a non-preferred drug and Humana and Express Scripts require prior authorisation before prescribing.

Nevertheless, Entresto has emerged pretty much unscathed from the ICER procedure, unlike the PCSK9 inhibitors - Amgen's Repatha (evolocumab) and Sanofi/Regeneron's Praluent (alirocumab) - which were slammed last week by the non-profit organisation as being vastly overpriced.

The two drugs needed an 85% price reduction to meet its cost-effectiveness criteria, it concluded. Novartis has previously estimated that Entresto could eventually grow into a $5bn-a-year brand, and the ICER verdict suggests it will be able to keep pricing of the drug at a level that will help it achieve that objective.

Moreover, if Entresto's indications are expanded in future to include other heart failure types peak revenues could be even higher, according to analysts.

The ICER draft report will be the discussed at a meeting to be held at the California Technology Assessment Forum (CTAF) on October 29 in Oakland, and is open for comments until September 25.

Article by
Phil Taylor

14th September 2015

From: Sales

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