November 3, 2010

How Much Will The New Coumadin Alternative Cost?

Posted in Heart Disease in the News tagged , , , , , , , , at 1:43 am by keepyourhearthealthy

photo by graur codrin

Lately it seems we can hardly get away from the slightest bit of news about the new Coumadin alternative, Pradaxa (dabigatran).

Ever since the FDA approved Pradaxa, news reports have been buzzing about this drug which may replace Coumadin in the future.  Many patients will be happy to dispose of their Coumadin or warfarin tablets in favor of a better drug.  But at what cost?

Pradaxa’s manufacturer Boehringer Ingelheim has released their pricing for the pills at nearly $3.40 per dose.  Patients will be expected to take 150mg twice a day so that means it will actually cost $6.75 per day or more than $200 per month.  And this is just the wholesale cost…who knows what the retailers will charge?

So, is Pradaxa going to be worth the price? Some physicians have already calculated the cost of Pradaxa pills versus the total expense of Coumadin and it appears to be cost-effective.  When you consider the expense of INR checks at least monthly while taking Coumadin, the price of monitoring an anticoagulant like Coumadin really adds up over the years.

Needless to say, cardiologists and patients alike are eager to get rid of Coumadin which Robert Baeten, PA-C, calls   “The most-commonly prescribed, dangerous drug.”  If you hope to switch to Pradaxa in the near future, here are a few things to consider:

  1. If you have no prescription coverage, Pradaxa may cost up to 6 times more than brand name Coumadin
  2. If you have prescription coverage,  Pradaxa copays may be somewhat comparable to Plavix
  3. Pradaxa has been shown in studies to be safer than Coumadin as far as bleeding risk (so less worries about bleeding in your brain if you bump your head while taking Pradaxa)
  4. Pradaxa does not require frequent fingerstick monitoring like Coumadin

Just like everything else in this economy, the bottom line will likely come down to price.  Pradaxa will initially be too expensive for people who do not have prescription drug coverage.  For those who have insurance, it will still likely be a hefty copay but hopefully the prices should improve over time.  I have personally called for pricing of the drug and will post the quotes in the next article:

Yes, Your Pharmacy Can Now Give You An Alternative To Coumadin! Pradaxa is HERE!

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