Vertex Pharmaceuticals has raised the price of its best-selling cystic fibrosis drug for the first time,
The decision by Vertex to increase the list price of Orkambi by 5 percent, to around $273,000 per year before discounts could boost revenues at the Boston-based company.
An unexpected move, as the company since 2015 when the drug was approved, it has nver raised its price and even when raised the price of its other approved cystic fibrosis drug, Kalydeco, didi it just once, by 4.5 percent. Many big pharmaceutical companies increase their drug’s price close to 10 percent.
Vertex does not expect the price increase to affect how much patients pay out of pocket, as in the U.S is available through insurance coverage.
Vertex spokeswoman Heather Nichols said the company has made investments in Orkambi since it was approved, including the bankrolling of clinical studies aimed at making it available to younger patients not covered by the initial approval. The price increase also “supports our work to bring more medicines to people with CF who are still waiting,” she said.
The Boston-based company is now trying to develop a cocktail of three drugs — Kalydeco, another drug called tezacaftor, and a third to be determined later — that would treat nearly all patients with cystic fibrosis. More than 30,000 people in the U.S. are living with the disease.
Source: Boston Business Journal