A recent New York Times article highlighted a newly approved drug that treats severe to moderate atopic dermatitis, a common form of eczema. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi developed the drug, which will be called Dupixent, before negotiating the $37,000 price tag directly with insurers. This unorthodox move could’ve been made to prevent a repeat of the pricing pushback the companies experienced in 2015 with the approval of Praluent. While the price is steep, Dupixent still costs less than other skin disease biologics, such as Humira and Enbrel, which cost around $50,000 a year.
Most insured patients won’t be charged the full $37,000, but in recent years insurers have often required payment of up to half a drug’s list price, or pay full price until the deductible is met. Some patients are also required to prove cheaper alternatives were ineffective in treating their ailments before insurers will cover more expensive drugs. Dupixent may soon experience competition that could apply downward pressure on their pricing via nemulixumab, a similar drug currently in testing.