With the approval of dupilumab (Dupixent) in late October, there are now five biologic therapies available for the treatment of severe asthma that is not controlled by standard treatments. But, like the biologic therapies that came before them for rheumatoid arthritis and other immune-mediated inflammatory diseases, the revolutionary new drugs are costly.
The approved asthma drugs have annual wholesale acquisition costs of $30,000 to $40,000 a year, and many patients may remain on them for many years.
“These drugs have completely revolutionized asthma therapy. We are all very excited about them. But, the biggest drawback is the cost,” John Mastronarde, MD, of the Asthma Center at The Oregon Clinic in Portland, told MedPage Today.
In an evidence report based on cost-effectiveness modeling, the nonprofit Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) recently declared the five biologics to be more than 50% too pricey at current costs to meet widely accepted thresholds of cost-effectiveness.