Pfizer COVID Treatment Price Cut by 80 Percent

A major drug pricing research group cut suggested price range for Pfizer COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid.

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    Popular drug pricing research group, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), cut its suggested price range for Pfizer COVID antiviral treatment Paxlovid by more than 80 percent.
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    ICER suggested the new health benefit price benchmark (HBPB) for Paxlovid be between $563 and $906 per treatment course, down from $3,600 to $5,800 per course.
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    ICER explained that the new suggested Paxlovid price is based on new data that shows the range to be the most cost-effective.

A popular drug pricing research group cut its suggested price range for Pfizer COVID antiviral Paxlovid by more than 80 percent.

The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) cut the price partly because new data shows current COVID variants lead to lower risks for severe illness.

"With substantial new data now available from recent experience during the Omicron wave earlier this year, and with new negotiations underway on pricing and payment between commercial insurers and the manufacturer, we believe it will be helpful for all stakeholders to have updated calculations of a price that aligns with the evidence on benefits to patients."

Dr. Steven Pearson, ICER President

ICER is a non-profit research institute that studies medicine and medical service evidence. The company recently suggested the new health benefit price benchmark (HBPB) for Paxlovid be between $563 and $906 per treatment course, down from $3,600 to $5,800 per course.

Although ICER is not part of the government and cannot officially set prices, many large health insurers respect their suggested, data-based pricing. ICER's HBPB is a price range that suggests the highest U.S. price a company should charge for a treatment based on the number of improvements and overall health patients get from that treatment.

The HBPB is the highest price a healthcare system can award innovation and better patient health without doing more harm than good. For example, ICER urges medicine and treatment not to be so expensive that it causes more significant losses in health among other patients in the health system due to the overall costs of health care and health insurance.

ICER explained that the primary goal of the proposed price of Paxlovid is to keep the treatment within a cost-effective range based on updated data.

Paxlovid is an oral antiviral medication made up of two generic pills that helps people with higher risks from COVID avoid going to the hospital. Studies show those who take Paxlovid within three days of their first COVID symptoms have an 89% lower chance of death or need hospitalization.

In May 2022, when ICER finished its special assessment of the best outpatient treatments for COVID-19, Paxlovid became the best choice for treatment. Since that time, much of what we understand about COVID-19 has evolved. One change includes the fact that more Americans are getting vaccinated. Also, as more people are infected with COVID, more are developing stronger immunity from previous infections.

ICER notes that Paxlovid suggested pricing is still subject to change as we learn more about COVID and its long-term effects. Also, experts expect Pfizer and commercial insurers to replace federal contracts with the new prices in 2023. However, data shows that despite likely changes to future COVID variants, as well as vaccination and prior infection statuses changing overall, ICER is confident its analysis suits the current landscape of COVID's effects.

Though ICER's new suggested price is based on well-researched data, the company still asks patient groups, payers, and drug makers to use the ICER Analytics platform and use their own judgment.

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