Biogen (BIIB -0.4%) is moving to the head of the line of biotechs that have instituted eye-watering pricing for their therapies. Spinraza (nusinersen), approved by the FDA in December 2016 to treat spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), will cost $125K per injection, meaning the first-year cost will be $750K and $375K per year thereafter.
Many insurers have already announced plans to cover the drug, albeit mostly for type 1 SMA. Molina Healthcare (MOH -1.9%) recently warned (in its 10-K) that Spinraza may dampen earnings because it did not anticipate its "inordinate" cost. It added that paying for Gilead Sciences' hep C med Sovaldi a couple of years back also created a drag on income.
About 50 regional and national health plans have added Spinraza to their formularies, according to Biogen. About 20 Medicaid plans are approving prescriptions on a claim-by-claim basis.
The company says the cost of Spinraza is "in line" with other rare disease therapies although it is apparently making an effort to assuage Wall Street concerns about pushback over the price, which may reignite President Trump's criticism over the issue.
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