The Price for Lowering Cholesterol

Two new, powerful and expensive drugs to treat very high cholesterol are raising concerns about the ability of public and private insurers to pay and whether the benefits the drugs bring will outweigh their long-term costs.

The list prices for two of the new hepatitis C drugs reached $84,000 to $95,000 for a 12-week course of treatment and were high even after manufacturers’ discounts. But the drugs, which cured a vast majority of patients in clinical trials, are essentially a one-time cost.

The cholesterol drugs, by contrast, will be taken for a lifetime. The list price is $14,600 a year for Praluent and $14,100 for Repatha. At these rates, the lifetime costs could be staggering.

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