ICER Finds Janssen’s Treatment-Resistant Depression Spray Too Pricey

July 1, 2019

Janssen’s Spravato (esketamine) spray—approved by the FDA in March for treatment-resistant depression —isn’t cost-effective at its listed price, a nonprofit drug price watchdog says.

A patient will spend $36,500 in the first year taking Janssen’s nasal spray, compared to just $3,600 for ketamine, a product with a similar effect, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review says in a new analysis.

ICER analysts also found a lack of evidence for the drug’s benefits compared to ketamine and other treatment-resistant depression therapies.

The nonprofit noted uncertainty around esketamine’s longer-term benefits and risks—and called for research studies to compare the drug with other treatments using “standardized research protocols and outcomes” to clear up doubts.

Janssen argues that the “assumptions in the report on the established positive benefit-risk profile of Spravato are misguided.”

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