ICER Slams Cost-Effectiveness of Three Vertex Cystic Fibrosis Drugs

May 8, 2018

Significant price cuts would be needed for three Vertex cystic fibrosis drugs to deliver benefits equal to their cost, according to an analysis by the Institute of Clinical and Economic Review.

The price of cystic fibrosis therapies Kalydeco (ivacaftor), Orkambi (lumacaftor/ivacaftor) and Symdeko (tezacaftor/ivacaftor and ivacaftor) would need to drop by 71 to 77 percent to meet common cost effectiveness thresholds, ICER said. Among populations with different types of genetic mutations, the cost of the drugs was far greater than the common threshold for cost-effectiveness, $100,000-$150,000 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained.

The Vertex drug prices run from $272,000 to $311,000. To be cost-effective, the analysis found, Kalydeco would have to cost between $72,500 and $86,450, while Orkambi would cost between $67,800 and $80,000 and Symdeko, the newest of the drugs, would run from $68,200 to $81,200.

The report notes that treatments for particularly rare diseases such as cystic fibrosis are often given special considerations by decision-makers that may lead them to impose higher thresholds for cost-effectiveness.

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