PriceWatch: ODYSSEY Outcomes Trial Reveals Price of Alirocumab Needs to Come Down

Jan 2, 2019 | Cardiovascular, Cholesterol, Price Watch

Pharma Drug Prices

As reported in Annals of Internal Medicine, The ODYSSEY Outcomes (Evaluation of Cardiovascular Outcomes After an Acute Coronary Syndrome During Treatment with Alirocumab) trial included participants with a recent acute coronary syndrome. Compared with participants receiving statins alone, those receiving a stain plus alirocumab had lower rates of composite outcome including myocardial infarction (MI), stroke and death.

Trial Summary:

Results of Base-Case Analysis:

Compared with a statin alone, the addition of ezetimibe cost $81 000 (95% uncertainty interval [UI], $51 000 to $215 000) per QALY. Compared with a statin alone, the addition of alirocumab cost $308 000 (UI, $197 000 to $678 000) per QALY. Compared with the combination of statin and ezetimibe, replacing ezetimibe with alirocumab cost $997 000 (UI, $254 000 to dominated) per QALY.

Results of Sensitivity Analysis:

The price of alirocumab would have to decrease from its original cost of $14 560 to $1974 annually to be cost-effective relative to ezetimibe.


Effectiveness estimates were based on a single randomized trial with a median follow-up of 2.8 years and should not be extrapolated to patients with stable coronary heart disease.


The price of alirocumab would have to be reduced considerably to be cost-effective. Because substantial reductions already have occurred, we believe that timely, independent cost-effectiveness analyses can inform clinical and policy discussions of new drugs as they enter the market.

Primary Funding Source:

University of California, San Francisco, and Institute for Clinical and Economic Review.

What is alirocumab? It is a biopharmaceutical drug approved by the FDA on July 24, 2015 as a second line treatment for high cholesterol for adults whose cholesterol is not controlled by diet and statin treatment. It is a human monoclonal antibody that belongs to a novel class of anti-cholesterol drugs, known as PCSK9 inhibitors, and it was the first such agent to receive FDA approval. The FDA approval was contingent on the completion of further clinical trials to better determine efficacy and safety.  2015 cost is estimated to be $14,300 USD per year, making alirocumab significantly less cost-effective than other lipid-lowering therapies.


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