New Data on Amgen PCSK9 Inhibitor May Influence Payers
On Friday, March 17, 2017, Amgen released long‐awaited results from a clinical trial of its PCSK9 inhibitor drug, Repatha. Payers and industry analysts have been waiting on this data to see how effective Repatha really is, and if it’s worth the hefty price tag. Amgen has been offering pay‐for‐performance deals to payers, so the trial outcomes will help determine the performance end of those deals.
Initial feedback on the results is mixed. While the results are positive, showing a 27% decrease in heart attack risks and a 21% decrease in risk of stroke, there was no decrease in cardiac death risk and only a 15% reduction in the primary endpoint (a composite that included hospitalization for unstable angina, coronary revascularization, heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular death). So it appears the results are good, but not necessarily on the level you would hope for given the $14,500/year list price. While that price isn’t nearly as high as some other drugs, such as certain medications for orphan conditions, the prevalence of heart disease in the U.S. (and, therefore, the large size of the potential pool of patients) is what makes this category significant.
While some additional payers may be willing to enter into a pay‐for‐performance arrangement with Amgen, initial commentary suggests these clinical results are probably not significant enough to substantially increase adoption by payers.