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Why prices for Dupixent, Ocrevus, Austedo may shrink patient but not payer costs

While investors, media and even some payers have been touting the pricing of three recently launched drugs as sensible, it is not clear whether the lower-than-expected list prices will actually reduce costs to payers. But they are likely to result in lower co-pays for patients, which could increase access.

On March 28, FDA approved two drugs that were firsts for their indications: Dupixent dupilumab from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Sanofi to treat moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis in patients not adequately controlled with topical therapies; and Ocrevus ocrelizumab from Roche’s Genentech Inc. unit to treat primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS). Ocrevus also was approved for relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS).

Less than a week later, FDA approved Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.’s Austedo deutetrabenazine to treat chorea associated with Huntington’s disease.

In all three cases the companies were lauded for how they priced the drugs. Dupixent was priced at a wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) of $37,000 a year, well below the most commonly cited comparator of psoriasis biologics, Humira adalimumab. AbbVie Inc.’s tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor has an annual WAC just shy of $58,000 a year.

Ocrevus’ $65,000 annual price tag came in near parity

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