Usually, the more competitive a market, the lower the price. But that hasn’t happened over the last couple of decades for multiple sclerosis drugs.
Back in the 1990s, when the first drugs to slow multiple sclerosis came to market, they cost about $10,000 a year. Doctor Dennis Bourdette, the chair of neurology at Oregon Health & Science University, says he expected that price to drop over time, but now it’s about $60,000 a year.
“The pattern is a new drug comes on the market at a higher price than the existing drugs, and the response of the existing drugs is to raise their prices to close to the new drugs,” said Bourdette.
A new study, published in this month’s issue of Neurology, found prices of old multiple sclerosis drugs have shown ‘an alarming rise.’
Researchers say the absence of a national system to negotiate prices has contributed. One manufacturer, Teva, said its drug is competitive with other therapies and the price reflects the cost of research and development.