Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NSDQ:REGN) and its partner, Sanofi (NYSE:SNY), have agreed to lower the cost for its cholesterol drug, Praluent, for Express Scripts (NSDQ:ESRX) in exchange for an exclusive spot on the pharmacy benefit manager’s national formulary.
The agreement, effective July 1, is designed to broaden patient access to the injectable medicine and lower out-of-pocket costs for eligible patients, according to the pharma companies.
Sales for Praluent have been disappointing for Regeneron and analysts on The Street – the company’s stock is down -43% this year. The company has argued that uptake was slowed by the drug’s $14,000 annual list price and a lack of clinical data.
But Dr. Steve Miller, SVP and CMO for Express Scripts, pointed towards new data reported this year that concludes that Praluent helps to prevent heart attacks and save lives. And an independent analysis conducted by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review found that the drug was cost-effective at $8,000 for high-risk patients, Forbes reported.
Express Scripts plans to pass a portion of the rebates it receives from Sanofi and Regeneron to people enrolled in participating commercial health benefit plans, the companies touted, adding that patients should see lowered out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy counters.
“This paradigm-shifting agreement is designed to break the gridlock so that Praluent is finally able to reach patients most in need,” Dr. Leonard Schleifer, president & CEO of Regeneron, said in prepared remarks. “U.S. cardiologists have experienced unprecedented challenges in securing access for Praluent for patients who were clearly appropriate, but were denied coverage. This agreement sets a new standard in industry and payer collaboration that we hope will serve as a model for how to make innovative medicines more accessible and affordable.”