Although many new drugs designed to treat neurological disorders have hit the market, their use by patients remains low due to their high cost and similar efficacy to existing drugs.
A research team led by Michigan Medicine used drug claims data from 2001 to 2019 to assess the market potential for patients with any of 11 neurological conditions, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and migraines. We analyzed the use of drugs that had just appeared in the FDA and those that adhered to existing guidelines.
results published in neurologythe AAN medical journal found that less than 20% of patients were treated with new drugs approved by the FDA between 2014 and 2018, and that these drugs cost significantly more than existing treatments. The only condition with high rates of new drug use was tardive dyskinesia (32%).
The most expensive new treatment was edaravone for ALS, averaging $713 per month. Researchers say the out-of-pocket costs of new medicines are less predictable than those of existing medicines because of the high general cost of medicines and the different insurance coverage for each patient.
“Although there is a slight increase in use for some drugs, the overall impact of these new drugs is small, probably because they are as effective as the lower-cost drugs already on the market.” said senior author Brian C. Callaghan, MD. , MS, Neurologist, Michigan Health University, and Eva L. Feldman, MD, PhD, Professor of Neurology, UM Medical School. “Providers may also be discouraged from prescribing these drugs because of high costs or insurance barriers. You have to make an effort.”
Treatments for two rare conditions, spinal muscular atrophy and transthyretin amyloidosis, have dramatically improved outcomes. However, the researchers were unable to analyze the effect of cost on use due to the limited number of participants.
View release From the American Neurological Association.
Other authors include Evan L. Reynolds, Ph.D.; Gary Gallagher, MD; Chloe E. Hill, MD; Mousumi Banerjee, Ph.D.; Neurology, and Gregory. J. Esper, MD, MBA, Emory University.
Disclosure: Callahan is consulted by DynaMed, has research support from the American Academy of Neurology, and provides medical legal consultations, including consultations on the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
Papers Cited: “Cost and use of emerging neuropharmaceuticals” neurologyDoi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000201627