The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has just approved a new drug, and Repatha is now on the market against cholesterol, to battle the more complicated cases where statins or other therapies do not work. It comes as additional medicine that will help patients lower their cholesterol levels, commonly high due to hereditary conditions.
Developed by Amgen, evolocumba (or known by its brand name, Repatha) will now be available on the market for patients with a history of heart attacks or strokes, unable to trim down the high levels of their cholesterol to a safe and healthy amount.
According to John Jenkins, the director of Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, the new drug will effectively become a solution for those with unsafe levels of LDL cholesterol, to be used along with a diet and other therapies for the condition.
Its targeted audience are patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH) or atherosclerotic CVD, and the more precise, homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH), approved for those who simultaneously suffer from high cholesterol and heart disease or have a history of coronary issues.
Patients in clinical trials have shown an improvement in their LDL levels by 54% to 77%, and some had even seen the numbers fall beneath 10%, which an excellent achievement, especially for those who also have other pre-existing health problems that prohibits them from using the more traditional or older drugs.
While the results are quite astounding, the price is very steep, and Amgen has stated that they will work with doctors and customers in order to come up with “innovative pricing programs”. The current cost of Repatha stands at a whopping $14,100 per year of twice a week injections.
Due to the exorbitant price, health professionals and pharmacies might be asked to exhaust all other options before recommending the more costly option, and certainly perform tests to be certain that no other drug might benefit the patient more. It’s the consequence of such a high price tag that most afflicted will unfortunately not be able to afford.
It puts the question on a long-standing debate of the FDA approving drugs without finding a reasonable pricing for it to hit the markets first. It has been proposed several times in the past that they evaluate the cost and perhaps negotiate the numbers lower before allowing companies to produce and develop new medicine.
However, it’s the right to every company to decide the value of their product, though the cost of staying healthy is growing each year.
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