We’ve all heard the expression, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” How about another cliché? “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
These trite statements do, in fact, teach us a valuable lesson about the human experience, namely that perspective is everything. It’s a civil war from the perspective of the establishment, but it’s a revolution from the perspective of the oppressed.
For most, paying $14,600 per year for medicine might seem pretty expensive. But for people with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), it might be all that is standing between them and a heart attack.
The new cholesterol medication is called Praluent, and it costs a pretty penny compared to the most popular cholesterol drugs, statins. However, the efficacy is what people are really paying for. Statins can boast a reduction in cholesterol on the order of 15 to 20 percent.
However, clinical trials and early data collected since approval indicates that Praluent has a 50 to 70 percent reduction. Those with moderately high cholesterol can manage with statins and lifestyle changes. But people with FH need something more substantial.
Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a hereditary condition that results in extremely high LDL cholesterol.
Researchers estimate that approximately 1 million people in the U.S. are affected by this condition. However, at most, only ten percent of them know that they have it. The genetic test is rather expensive, and most insurance companies will not cover it.
Praluent could be incredibly beneficial to that 1 in 350 American who has this condition. There are other medications that can boast similar or more potent efficacy in combating LDL cholesterol.
However, these other drugs have weightier price tags. Lomitapide costs approximately $250,000 per year. Mipomersen is more than ten times as expensive as Praluent. As you might be able to guess, insurance companies are reluctant to pay those prices.
When we look at the context, our perspectives might have changed. $14,600 is a lot of money, but if it works almost as well as the quarter-of-a-million dollar drug, then it seems like a downright bargain.