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Nonprofit Organization ICER Calls Out St. Jude And Novartis AG For Overpricing Heart-Failure Treatments

Two heart-failure treatments, Novartis AG’s drug Entresto and St. Jude’s CardioMEMS device, have come under scrutiny after a report was published by a research group showing the treatment options were being overpriced by the manufacturers.

The report was issued by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), a non-profit organization based out of Boston.

ICER was created to evaluate “the evidence on the value of medical tests, treatments, and delivery system innovations,” according to their website. After producing reviews of these items, they publicize their findings in order to spark discussions and push for improved value and quality of health care services.

The biggest of the two offenders was St. Jude Medical’s CardioMEMS HF System, which is described by St. Jude as a heart failure monitor that is “proven to significantly reduce HF hospital admissions and improve quality of life in NYHA class III patients.”

The CardioMEMS™ HF System is the first and only FDA-approved heart failure (HF) monitor proven to significantly reduce HF hospital admissions and improve quality of life in NYHA class III patients.

In an analysis of the device, ICER determined that while it may be FDA-approved, insufficient evidence existed to determine if it actually improved a patient’s well-being. The findings led ICER to describe the $17,750 list price as “excessive,” with a recommendation that for what it does, the cost should be nearly 60 percent less, at around $7,622.

ICER also took a look at Novartis AG’s cardiovascular drug Entresto and found that for what it is does, the cost should be 17 percent less than what patients are paying for it, at approximately $3,780 a year.

According to Dow Jones Business News, the FDA approved Entresto in July after a clinical trial demonstrated a reduction in the possibility of death or hospitalization compared to enalapril, the alternative treatment option for heart failure.

While Novartis AG would not comment on the report to Dow Jones Business News, they have claimed in the past that the market price for Entresto was in line with the alternative cardiovascular therapy options on the market.

ICER has announced that their findings on Entresto and CardioMEMS will be presented at the California Technology Assessment Forum next month for further discussion.

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