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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Biogen’s new MS drug to cost $62,036 a year

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  | GLOBE STAFF   OCTOBER 04, 2014
Cambridge biotech Biogen Idec Inc. said Friday it will charge $62,036 per patient for a year’s treatment with its newly approved multiple sclerosis drug Plegridy.
The list price of Plegridy, a new type of injectable drug that treats adults with the most common form of MS, is identical to that of Biogen Idec’s original injectable, Avonex, which is still on the market.
Plegridy, a longer-lasting drug for patients with relapsing-remitting MS, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Aug. 15 for US sale. Biogen Idec disclosed the price Friday before releasing the drug to distributors.
“We’re pricing for the innovation,” said Biogen Idec spokeswoman Kate Niazi-Sai. “But we’re also pricing to make sure patients have access to it and the system can support it. That’s a balance, and that’s what we’re trying to do here.”
Drug pricing has become a hot button issue in an era of rising health costs.
Payments for Sovaldi, a $1,000-a-day pill to treat hepatitis C, has strained the finances of health insurers. Sovaldi, sold by California-based Gilead Sciences, costs $84,000 for a three-month treatment regimen. Last month, another Cambridge biotech, Genzyme, priced its new pill to treat Gaucher disease at $310,250 a year for the small population of US patients suffering from the rare genetic disorder.

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