Biogen Idec Inc. has priced its newly approved hemophilia B drug Alprolix at a level that puts it at cost parity with drugs already on the US market to control and prevent bleeding, a representative of the Cambridge drug maker said Friday.
The “wholesale acquisition cost” of Alprolix — an estimate of the price paid by bulk purchasers — is $2.85 per international unit. While the cost is higher than the $1.19 charged by rival Pfizer Inc. for the leading competing drug, Benefix, hemophilia B patients only have to take the long-acting Biogen Idec drug once every week to 10 days compared to three or four times a week for the Pfizer drug.
“We wanted to establish parity with existing therapies,” said Biogen Idec spokeswoman Kate Niazi-Sai. “We didn’t want to increase the overall cost to the system. When we looked at the value of the drug, we wanted to balance accessibility for patients with sustainability for payers.”
Niazi-Sai said Biogen Idec could not project the annual cost of Alprolix for a patient because the dosage and regimen vary widely among hemophilia B patients depending on their weight, age, and the severity of their disease. Unlike many other drugs that list annual costs, hemophilia drugs use price per international unit as their standard cost measure, she said.