Regeneron, Sanofi lower price of Praluent to match the cheaper costs for Amgen’s Repatha.
The two drugs Praluent (alirocumab, Regeneron/Sanofi) and Repatha (evolocumab, Amgen) are proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors that dramatically lower the levels of LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke. Praluent has also been shown to lower the risk of death.
However, sales of the two drugs, which were approved in 2015, have been much lower than anticipated due to their very high price, which was originally close to $15,000 per year. Insurance companies did place either drug in a preferred position within their formularies.
However, in 2018, Regeneron and Sanofi lowered the price of Praluent in the form of a large rebate offered to pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts. The list price remained the same, but Express Scripts paid a price of $4,500–8,000 and made Praluent its preferred PCSK9 inhibitor. According to Regeneron head Leonard Schleifer, the move was intended to increase patient access and affordability, but many seniors prescribed the drug still could not afford the high co-pay costs or co-insurance on many Medicare Part D plans.
Later in 2018, Amgen reduced the price of Repatha by 60% to $5,850. Regeneron and Sanofi have now countered, with the same discount to be available effective in March. At that price, the cost to most Medicare Part D patients should be between $25 and $150 per month.