Avastin/Lucentis Update 50: A Possible Break in the Dam?
Here is Nick’s story...and as we hear more, we will bring you the news:
Novartis UK may cut Lucentis price to compete with off-label Avastin in AMD
by Nick Smith, APM Health Europe
LONDON, Oct 4 (APM) - Novartis on Tuesday indicated it may discount Lucentis (ranibizumab) in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to curb the off-label use of Roche's Avastin (bevacizumab) in the UK.
In a statement to APM following earlier press reports that Novartis may take such a step, the company said: "We recognize the cost pressure within the National Health Service" adding it was "working with the Department of Health and NICE ... exploring all options, to help make Lucentis available for as many as possible of the patients who could benefit from this treatment."
Novartis gave no further indication of what steps it might be prepared to take to boost sales volume but did highlight that NICE had found the drug cost-effective in AMD.
PATIENT ACCESS SCHEME
It did not mention the patient access scheme, then known as a 'risk-sharing' scheme, which was used to discount the drug to gain approval.
The company agreed to pay the cost of the drug beyond 14 injections in August 2008, (APMHE 12490) but this did not stop the UK government undermining the agreement by asking NICE if it could examine Avastin for cost-effectiveness in the indication, despite the fact it is not licensed for the use.
Early take up of Lucentis seemed slow, leading to some sales figures coming below analysts' expectations.
However, an ever-wider global market, ageing population and innovative pricing schemes has helped the company turn this around and second quarter sales reached the equivalent of 310 million euros.