Expiration of Gleevec patent could save patients millions of dollars - (Breitbart via NewsPoints Desk)

  • According to findings published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, switching to a generic version of Novartis' Gleevec could save patients about $100 000 over five years, translating to more than $9 million in savings for an insurer with 100 patients being treated with the leukemia drug, as reported in Breitbart.
  • Gleevec, also known as imatinib, is credited with making chronic myeloid leukemia treatable, but survival is limited to five years without relapse. During that time, patients often rotate between Gleevec and two other similar drugs, dasatinib and nilotinib, depending on side effects or declining efficacy.
  • In the study, investigators constructed mathematical models to measure the five-year effectiveness of imatinib-first drug selection by doctors, comparing it to "physician's choice" of drug. The researchers based treatment efficacy on estimates from clinical trials of the drug.
  • Price estimates are based an expected brand-to-generic drop in price of between 70 percent and 90 percent, including Canadian prices for imatinib that are between 18 percent and 26 percent of Gleevec's price.
  • Investigators calculated that if a patient were initially prescribed imatinib, instead of Gleevec, and stayed on the drug for five years, the patient would save about $100 000.
  • The expected drop would mean Gleevec's annual cost of $60 000 would become $6000 per year with the generic version, the study found.

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