Thousand Oaks biotech Amgen Inc. announced on Monday that CVS Health has added its cholesterol-lowering drug Repatha to its list of covered medications for private insurance plans. Repatha was chosen over a competing PCSK9 inhibitor made by Sanofi SA and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. called Praluent.
Both drugs were approved by the Food and Drug Administration this past summer and can cut “bad” cholesterol by more than 60 percent. Before reaching its decision, CVS Health analyzed the medications and determined that they were therapeutically equivalent.
Repatha as well as Praluent are stronger than traditional statin cholesterol-lowering drugs, like Lipitor, and are far more costly. A year of treatment with Repatha costs approximately $14,100, according to Reuters.
“We have determined that choosing a single PCSK9 inhibitor for our commercial formularies allows us to get the best price possible for clients,” Dr. Troyen Brennan, chief medical officer of CVS Health, said in a statement. “We anticipate that for most members with high cholesterol, statins will remain the standard of care.”
Amgen shares closed up $2.56 or 1.6 percent to $162.47 on the Nasdaq.