Effient will cost 18% more than Plavix

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Eli Lilly and Daiichi Sankyo's new blood thinner Effient (prasugrel) will cost about 18 percent more than the current gold-standard Plavix (clopidogrel), according to a report in Dow Jones Newswires.

Effient will cost about $5.45 per tablet when it hits pharmacy shelves, which Lilly and Daiichi expect will happen by mid-August, executives from the companies told Dow Jones. In comparison, Plavix, which is co-marketed by the Paris-based Sanofi-Aventis and the New York City-based Bristol-Myers Squibb, costs about $4.60 per tablet. Retail prices for both drugs may vary from the wholesale price.

The Indianapolis-based Lilly and the Tokyo-based Daiichi are hoping to justify the price premium to payors and patients by touting the drug's capability to prevent more heart attacks than Plavix, based on results from the TRITON-TIMI trial. However, the same trial initially raised concerns because it connected Effient use with increased bleeding risks compared with Plavix.

"We have robust data that tells us that Effient is going to be very cost-effective," Javan Collins, vice president of Lilly's U.S. cardiovascular business, told Dow Jones.

"Our goal is to get payors to reimburse Effient in a similar form and fashion to how they reimburse for Plavix, for the right patient type," said Lorenz Muller, Daiichi's executive director of the U.S. thrombosis business.

On July 10, the FDA, after a one-year delay, approved Effient for the reduction of thrombotic cardiovascular events, including stent thrombosis, in patients with acute coronary syndromes who are managed with PCI.