New Cholesterol Drug Lowers Heart Attack & Stroke Risk, But Costs $14,000 a Year

Amgen Inc. which is an American multinational biopharmaceutical company has developed a new drug called Repatha which is capable of reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular death by 20 percent, according to a study. 

The study, which involved more than 27,000 men and women, cost about $1 billion and was paid for by Amgen, the maker of the drug, the New York Times reported.

Amgen’s new drug, Repatha, is given as a shot once or twice a month and is part of a unique group of medicines that drop Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) to unprecedented levels. But this new drug comes at a pricey cost of $14,000 a year and insurers have balked at paying without proof that it lowers heart risks, not just the cholesterol number.

According to some doctors, the new study gives that evidence, but the benefit is not as great as they had hoped.

To help insurers who might be balking at covering the drug’s $14,000 price tag, Amgen has decided to refund the cost to the insurer if a patient has a heart attack or stroke while taking the drug.

Amgen shares fell Friday March 13 after the company said its cholesterol-lowering drug failed to significantly lower mortality and costs more than many insurers want to pay.

Image Credit: Amgen

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