Payers may take a dim view of NASH drugs

Price, efficacy, and weight loss as an alternative could spell trouble for drug developers

Drugs in the pipeline for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) may get pushback from payers if and when they hit the market, according to a report this week by BioPharma Dive. Reasons for the resistant include concerns about the efficacy of the drugs, price tags that are expected to be $10,000 or more, and lifestyle changes (especially weight loss) that might be just as effective in ameliorating the condition. 

NASH is liver inflammation caused by fatty deposits in the liver. It's another consequence of weight gain and sedentary living. Between 10 million and 30 million Americans are believed to have NASH so the pharmaceutical industry has been eyeing the condition as a market. 

"Payers are going to balk and try to be very selective in who we could prescribe to," Brent Tetri, a St. Louis hepatologist, told BioPharma Dive

Diagnosis may be an issue, especially if payers require a biopsy, the report said.