Heart Failure Drug From Pfizer Attracts New Critics Over Price - (Bloomberg via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Doctors involved in Pfizer-funded clinical trials for tafamidis have since become critics of the drug's $225,000-a-year price after seeing patients' early financial struggles since it was approved in May, reported Bloomberg.

  • "We can agree to disagree," said researcher Mathew Maurer, who is still involved in an ongoing trial of the drug, "but I had told them I thought $25,000 a year might have been a reasonable cost." Tafamidis, also called Vyndaqel or Vyndamax, is the first-ever medication approved by the FDA for the cardiac form of transthyretin amyloidosis. 

  • Pfizer called the price of the drug appropriate, and said it set the cost based on what it anticipates will be a small number of patients getting it, although if it ends up being more widely used, the company said it may cut the price. 

  • The company estimates that 100,000 to 150,000 individuals in the US have cardiac transthyretin amyloidosis, meeting the criteria for a rare disease, and that today just 4% or 5% of patients know they have it, according to Nolan Townsend, regional president of Pfizer’s North America rare disease unit.

  • Maurer and collaborators released a cost-effectiveness analysis last week at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Scientific Sessions meeting, concluding that tafamidis is only cost-effective with a more than 90% price reduction, or a price of $16,563. At current prices, treating an estimated 120,000 patients in the US with tafamidis would "increase annual healthcare spending by $32.3 billion," they noted.

  • However, Pfizer contested the findings, saying that the analysis is not appropriate for rare-disease drugs or medicines that treat elderly populations, which have less time to benefit.

To read more NewsPoints articles, click here.