- Multiple myeloma drugs are priced too high relative to their actual value for prolonging life, according to a recent assessment from the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER). The group recommended discounts of anywhere from 32% to 94%, Reuters reports.
- ICER’s assessment included Amgen's Kyprolis, Takeda's Ninlaro, Bristol-Myers Squibb and AbbVie's Empliciti, Novartis' Farydak, Celgene's Pomalyst, and Johnson & Johnson's Darzalex.
- The study compared the new drugs to the standard of care—Celgene’s Revlimid combined with dexamethasone.
The availability of new treatments for multiple myeloma has been seen as a boon by some, given the scope of the medical need for new treatments. According to the American Cancer Society, 30,330 people will be diagnosed with multiple myeloma this year and 12,650 will die.
ICER estimated each of the newer treatments extends life by about a year, compared with standard of care. However, their estimates suggest that Kyprolis should cost 32% to 64% less than it currently does; Empliciti should cost 75% to 89% and Ninlaro should cost 80% to 94% less, according to Reuters.
While ICER may have its advocates, there are also critics. The American Hematology Society publicly stated that "the type [ICER’s] of analysis has only limited value in determining the just price and utility of novel drugs." Takeda, which markets Ninlaro, shared its concerns in a statement to Reuters that ICER’s methodology has “significant limitations.”
ICER also said evidence was insufficient to determine a health benefit for the drugs Farydak, Pomalyst, or Darzalex because of the way those drugs’ clinical trials were designed.
Robert Goldberg, co-founder of Medicine in the Public Interest disagrees with this segment of ICER’s report. "The trial design wasn't flawed. The drugs excluded were tested in more advanced patients and not in any established combination,” he explained.
ICER recently analyzed the prices of the new PCSK9 cholesterol drugs from Amgen and Regeneron/Sanofi, and also recommended lower prices for those drugs.