NEW YORK (Good Medical) – Sanofi SA and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced on Monday that they would cut 60% of the price posted by the US market of their powerful and expensive cholesterol fighter, Praluent, in the prospect of a similar increase. use of the drug.

FILE PHOTO: The Sanofi logo is presented at the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 25, 2018. Good Medical / Charles Platiau

Praluent's new current price will be $ 5,850 a year, the price Amgen set when it lowered the list of its competitor drug, Repatha, in October.

Sanofi and Regeneron said they expect Praluent, which is priced lower, to be available for pharmacies in early March. They said the new price should improve patient access and reduce direct costs for US consumers.

Praluent and Repatha belong to a class of injectable biotechnology drugs called PCSK9 inhibitors, which significantly lower LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attack and death.

Sales of both have been severely limited by significant barriers to patient access put in place by insurers seeking to limit spending on expensive drugs.

They were approved in 2015 with initial selling prices in excess of US $ 14,000 per year.

In March, Regeneron and Sanofi said they would be willing to charge less for their drug if insurers agreed to reduce barriers for high-risk heart patients.

A few months later, they signed an agreement with Express Scripts, which is now part of Cigna Corp, to make the drug available to its customers at a price of between $ 4,500 and $ 6,600 per year.

The United States, which drops drug prices to market competition, has higher prices than other developed countries, where governments control costs directly or indirectly. This makes it by far the world's most lucrative market for manufacturers.

The Congress is targeting the pharmaceutical industry over the rising cost of prescription drugs for US consumers, especially since Democrats took office in the House of Representatives in January.

Leaders of at least six drug companies plan to testify at a Senate hearing on rising prescription drug prices later this month.

The price of drugs is also a top priority of the administration of President Donald Trump, who had made it a central theme of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Report by Michael Erman; Edited by Bill Berkrot