Comments 6

  1. george

    Being at risk of sound populist, seems we have a new drug for the economical elites. For the most part of world’s population this would suppose from 2 to 4 months salary dedicated to a monthly treatment.

    It’s unacceptable.

  2. Joie

    This could be a big money maker for Pfizer because Xeljanz would compete with the injectable and infusion biologics for RA. The FDA has approved Xeljanz for those who have a poor response to methotrexate. Being a new drug however, most RA docs would probably recommend their patients first try Enbrel, Humira or Remicade – some of the oldest biologics used to treat RA, with a longer track record of side effects.

    But some RA patients might find a pill more convenient than an injectable or infused biologic, and thus opt for Xeljanz. Of course, another factor in deciding which RA drug to take would be insurance coverage. More and more insurers are classifying expensive drugs as “Tier IV” drugs. Instead of a set co-pay, co-insurance is charged – from 20 to 30% or more of the actual cost of the drug or several hundred dollars a month.

    I wonder how Pfizer arrived at the monthly cost of Xeljanz as $2,055 for a month supply, a tad lower than the cost of injectable biologics like Humira or Enbrel. Drug companies tell us they need to recoup the cost of research and development, but cuz of patent protection they have years to recoup the cost, which some say is $800 million to bring a new drug to market. And since Xeljanz is a pill form, shouldn’t it be cheaper to produce than injectable biologics that are made from live cells, sold in prefilled syringes that require refrigeration?

    Specialty drugs like biologics for RA, are a huge and lucrative market. Humira, Enbrel and Remicade ranked #7, 8 and 9 in global sales. In 2011, Humira had $7.3 BILLION in global sales. (1) With 3 out of 4 prescriptions in the US filled for generics , specialty drugs are where the profit is for pharmaceutical companies. For those of us w/autoimmune conditions treated w/biologics, we are at the mercy of whatever price these drug companies charge for these expensive biologics that have no alternative of a generic version, a biosimilar.

    There have been efforts however to cap the out-of-pocket costs at affordable levels for expensive biologics, by prohibiting the practice of “specialty tiers.” New York has banned the use of specialty tiers and other states have introduced similar legislation. To learn about this issue – the barrier to expensive drugs that specialty tiers present, see the ARTHRITIS FOUNDATIONS’ position statement (2) and please share it w/others.



  3. Thia

    It is amazing how these companies play and make money with us- I had to use all these drugs to finally after 4 years of pain and inflammation and live in hell, i decided change to protocol antibiotic of course Doct said it won help I will live in more pain ….. My answer at least I will not leave scare to get cancer , about pain I was living with it anyways, AP was the only treatment that help and send me to remission after 2.5 years every 3 months I saw my CCP ESR AND RF going from 12XXX to normal.
    Liive with RA for almost 7 years was not easy, I lost too many things personally and professionally – why doctors discourage people to take and easy and cheap treatment ?……..We know the answer, We are just numbers……. unfortunately.

  4. Hank Sunder

    I’m still trying to fathom which part of making an involuntarily sick person become bankrupt or decide to forego treatment is the moral approach.

    If I sound populist, so be it.

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