Sector News

When do pharmas disclose launch prices up front? When pricing at a discount

April 13, 2017
Life sciences

Take a look at this year’s new drug approval announcements, and you may notice a pattern emerging among the companies willing to trumpet their pricing on approval day and those that make the market wait.

Companies that have so far this year been up front with their pricing decisions include Sanofi and Regeneron, which debuted their blockbuster-to-be eczema treatment Dupixent at a payer-friendly $37,000; Roche, whose $65,000 Ocrevus comes at an average discount of 20% to its rival MS meds; and Novartis, which rolled out a tiered pricing scheme for Kisqali on the way to undercutting in-class nemesis Ibrance from Pfizer.

Those that haven’t? Tesaro, for one. Industry-watchers say the company could match its costliest PARP competitor with new ovarian cancer med Zejula—or potentially go even higher. It’s waiting until late April to disclose its sticker.

And now Neurocrine, which is expected to charge a hefty $60,000 for Ingrezza, the first med ever approved to treat the involuntary movement disorder tardive dyskinesia. No one will know for sure what the price will be, though, until the med’s launch, which is expected May 1.

With all the controversy swirling around high drug prices, the delay tactic may be drugmakers’ new way of working to control the narrative. Biogen and partner Ionis first kicked off the trend last year, Marketwatch notes, with the pair stalling on the announcement of their $750,000 first-year price for spinal muscular atrophy med Spinraza.

And in an industry where any measure of pricing restraint can look good by comparison—see: Allergan CEO Brent Saunder’s social contract with patients—it’s no surprise that companies undercutting their peers want the public to take note.

One thing’s for sure: Companies aren’t using that lapsed time to hammer out their final pricing numbers, Brad Loncar, CEO of Loncar Investments, told the news service. They’ve “literally been obsessing about it for an entire year. They’re not coming up with the price today, by any means.”

By Carly Helfand

Source: Fierce Pharma

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