ICYMI: Vertex’s Cystic-Fibrosis Drug Could Come at a Cost

May 11, 2015

The Wall Street Journal: “Vertex’s Cystic-Fibrosis Drug Faces Big Test”

The FDA meeting, to be held in Gaithersburg, Md., will be closely watched by health insurers and pharmacy-benefit managers who are concerned that Orkambi will be the latest high-priced blockbuster to strain their budgets. Vertex hasn’t announced a price yet, but J.P. Morgan predicts the company will charge a wholesale price of around $287,000 annually per patient. Express Scripts Holding Co., the largest U.S. pharmacy benefits manager, says that price will overwhelm employer health plans.

“We’re really hoping this product comes out at a much more affordable price, because the burden to payers is extraordinary,” said Express Scripts Chief Medical Officer Steve Miller.

Vertex, based in Boston, Mass., already has a hit cystic-fibrosis drug in Kalydeco, which has a wholesale annual per-patient price of $311,000 in the U.S., and had $464 million in global sales last year.