Two years ago, the FDA approved a new type of cholesterol-lowering medicine. It sends “bad” LDL cholesterol into the basement, lowering it even more than potent statin drugs. But at the time, the FDA did not know whether such PCSK9 inhibitors, evolocumab (Repatha) and alirocumab (Praluent), would prevent heart attacks and save lives. One study that was published recently has answered some questions, but leaves a big one: can you afford Repatha?
A Pricy Prescription to Lower Cholesterol:
Q. My cardiologist prescribed Repatha. This drug lowered my LDL cholesterol significantly, but I cannot keep taking it because of its cost. My insurance will cover Repatha but I have a copay of $488 per month.
I’ve tried every statin on the market and have experienced bad reactions to every single one of them. What can I do now?
What Is Repatha?
A. Evolocumab (Repatha) is a new drug that lowers bad LDL cholesterol dramatically. A study in The New England Journal of Medicine (online, March 17, 2017) demonstrated that this injected medication reduced the risk of a heart attack or stroke when added to a statin. It did not save lives, however.
The FDA has only approved Repatha for use in conjunction with other cholesterol-lowering drugs. We suspect, however, that many physicians are prescribing it for people like you who cannot tolerate statins.
What Does Repatha Cost?
Repatha has a list price of around $14,000 per year. As a result, it’s not surprising that your copay is so high.
How Can You Afford Repatha?
The manufacturer, Amgen, offers financial assistance to patients like you who find the co-pay on their insurance unaffordable. If you go to Repatha.com you could sign up for the program. It would require you to pay the first $5 on your monthly co-pay, and the program would pay up to $5500 a year. To learn more, you could call the company at 844-737-2842.