Boehringer Ingelheim Reduces Cost of Pradaxa by 13%

Boehringer Ingelheim has announced that they will be decreasing the price of their oral anticoagulant Pradaxa (dabigatran etexilate) by 13% to £2.20 per day, from 1st April 2012.

The change comes two weeks after the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued a final guidance recommending the use of Pradaxa for the prevention of stroke and systemic embolism in adult patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF) with one or more risk factors.

While NICE had judged Pradaxa to be cost-effective at £2.52 per day, the new price will increase its appeal to prescribers.  The timing of the price change reveals mounting industry awareness that NICE approval is only a step on the way to meeting the value criteria of the UK’s NHS.

Duncan Cantor, Boehringer’s director of communications, notes that the company believes “it is important to make our medicines as affordable as possible in this tough financial climate.”

“By lowering the price by 13% to £2.20, the NHS now has every opportunity to make sure this medicine is available to all eligible patients,” added Mr Cantor.

The price modification will help ensure that all suitable patients are able to benefit from the first new oral anticoagulant for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation in 60 years, addressing NHS apprehensions about the affordability to facilitate appropriate prescribing based on clinical need, rather than cost, says the firm.

Boehringer also points out that NICE’s final approval recommendation meant that, under the NHS Constitution, over 900,000 patients should have the right to receive Pradaxa, providing their clinician believes it is correct for them.

A study published last October in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) reported that stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation is currently not optimally managed.  While numerous patients are treated with warfarin, the current standard of care, a noteworthy percentage of patients are not currently well-controlled within the target international normalised ratio (INR) range, with others are receiving insufficient anti-platelet treatment such as aspirin, and up to 30% are being given no treatment at all.

“This represents a large unmet need, and treating these patients with dabigatran has the potential to significantly reduce stroke risk where existing treatment is not appropriate or treatment is not being offered,” observed Boehringer.

An estimated 1.2 million people in the UK have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, of which 77% are entitled for treatment with an anticoagulant, the organisation notes.  The use of Pradaxa 150mg twice daily has the potential to prevent 530 more strokes per 100,000 patients annually in comparison to warfarin and, if all eligible patients received Pradaxa 150mg twice daily instead of warfarin, it could prevent up to 5,000 strokes, potentially saving the NHS up to £59 million in the initial year.


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