ICER Points Finger at Seven Drugs and Their Price Hikes

Humira, Rituxan top list of drugs that added $5.1 billion to nation's health care bill

AbbVie's adalimumab (Humira) and Roche's rituximab (Rituxan) topped a list of seven drugs whose combined 2017 and 2018 price hikes accounted for a $5.1 billion increase in U.S. spending, according to a report released this week by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), the independent cost-effectiveness assessment organization based in Boston.

The five other drugs on ICER's list are Pfizer’s pregabalin (Lyrica), Gilead's tenofovir/emtricitabine (Truvada), Amgen's pegfilgrastim (Neulasta), Eli Lilly’s tadalafil (Cialis), and Biogen's dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera).

The price hikes of the drugs were more than twice the rate of medical inflation and were not supported by any new clinical evidence, according to ICER's analysis.

ICER worked with the research firm, SSR Health, Inc., to evaluated and calculate the drug increases, excluding discounts and after-market rebates. The organization acknowledged that pinpointing the exact increase in spending on drugs is difficult to do, but was nevertheless confident that the top seven drugs cost more.

Several pharmaceutical companies pushed back on the ICER report. A spokesman for Gilead said the report left out real-world economic evidence, while Biogen’s spokeswoman said ICER’s methodology was flawed and did not consider evidence the observational studies it submitted. A Lilly spokesman noted that generic versions of Cialis are priced 90% lower than the retail price.

Source: Reuters, October 8, 2019