AstraZeneca Sets Premium Price for Ticagrelor (Brilinta)

[Updated with statement from AstraZeneca]– AstraZeneca will be charging a premium price for its new antiplatelet drug Brilinta (ticagrelor). Bernstein analyst Timothy Anderson reports that the daily treatment cost for the drug will be $7.24 on a wholesaler acquisition cost (WAC) basis, which is approximately 20% higher than the daily cost of $6.08 for clopidogrel (Plavix) and about 25% higher than the daily cost of $5.78 for prasugrel (Effient).

Anderson writes that the price seems high “given the competitive dynamics in the antiplatelet category.” Anderson notes that Brilinta will have a black box warning that the drug should only be used with low dose aspirin. The high price, along with the scheduled launch of generic clopidogrel in May 2012, “will give payers one more reason to push Plavix ahead of Brilinta. In less than a year from now, generic versions of Plavix will be available for pennies on the dollar, creating a substantial price differential between generics and Brilinta.”

Update: AstraZeneca provided CardioBrief with the following statement:

“Brilinta will be priced to reflect the label and its value in treating patients with ACS. AstraZeneca believes Brilinta should be priced at a premium because of its label and the safety and efficacy versus clopidogrel.

“The cost to an individual patient will differ depending on an individual patient’s health insurance status. As with all of our medicines, we want to help make sure that the people who are prescribed Brilinta have access to it.”

Click here for previous coverage of ticagrelor on CardioBrief.

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