Prices for new multiple sclerosis (MS) therapies in the United States are decided most by competitors’ prices, and continual increases in the cost of existing treatments by concerns for company profits and future growth, a study based on”confidential” interviews with four biotech executives with experience in the MS field reports.
U.S. prices for MS disease-modifying therapies are also are largely divorced from “drug-specific research and development costs,” these executives said.
The study, “Qualitative study on the price of drugs for multiple sclerosis,” was published in the journal Neurology, and conducted by researchers at the Oregon State University, Portland.
The past several years have seen dramatic increases in prices set on MS disease-modifying therapies. According to the study, list prices more than doubled between 2010 and 2017, and many MS patients in the U.S. are now paying thousands of dollars a year out-of-pocket for access to the therapies they need.
“The average annual wholesale acquisition cost for most DMTs now exceeds $80,000 a year,” the researchers wrote.
“Yet, the specific rationale for ever-escalating launch prices and yearly (or twice yearly) price increase in excess of 15% for many drugs, including MS DMTs, has lacked transparency,” they added.
To “explore these phenomena,” the researchers conducted semi-structured interviews via telephone and online surveys with four pharmaceutical and biotech industry executives who met their requirements. These included substantial career experience, leadership roles, and that each be or have been “directly involved in multiple sclerosis disease-modifying therapy pricing or marketing,” the researchers wrote.
The interviews were confidential, meaning these executive are not identified.
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