Down the Stretch: Akcea, Alnylam Face Reality Checks as FDA Dates Loom

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toward value-based pricing”—a broad term that describes some kind of price set by a drug’s effectiveness or ability to forestall other medical costs. But she would not commit Akcea to any particular scheme in the near term, if inotersen is approved.

Patisiran would be Alnylam’s first commercial product, and CEO John Maraganore—who is also the chair of the industry trade group BIO—was one of the first biotech executives to concede that drug pricing practices need to change. In early 2016 he told Xconomy that Alnylam would be open about its pricing strategy: “This is not something that we will hold back on. We ought to be more reliant on our productivity to grow our business, not arbitrary price increases—I think that’s going through the minds of many companies. We’re willing to hold ourselves to that.”

Alnylam spokeswoman Christine Lindenboom said the company is working to finalize the price for patisiran and expects it to be “within the range” of similar drugs. She did not explain Alnylam’s definition of that range. Since Maraganore’s comments two years ago, drugs for rare diseases have priced well over six figures per year, with one price approaching the $1 million mark. (Those are list prices and don’t reflect negotiated discounts.)

Alnylam’s “patient access philosophy,” published last year, outlines its pricing commitments, including a pledge to limit increases to the rate of inflation.

This week, drug companies including Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) made news by raising prices, despite rhetoric and promises from President Donald Trump and top administration officials that prices would soon start to come down.

Image of amyloidosis courtesy of Yale Rosen via Creative Commons 2.0 license.

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