Did you know there are several prescriptions in the US that cost more than $100,000 per year? The ten most expensive prescription drugs currently approved by the FDA are:
1. Solaris: $409,500 annually. The drug, created by Alexion Pharmaceuticals, treats hemoglobinuria – a rare blood disease. Some 8,000 Americans are treated for this, resulting in more than $500 million in sales annually.
2. Elaprase: $375,000 annually. Prescribed to treat an enzyme deficiency (iduronate sulfatase) costs $4,215 per vial. Some 500 Americans are treated annually for Hunter syndrome, resulting ing more than $350 million in annual sales.
3. Naglazyme: $365,000 annually. This human enzyme medication is used to treat a rare genetic metabolic condition: Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome. Untreated, the illness causes mental retardation in children. The drug is also given for increased range of motion and pain management.
4. Cinryze: $350,000 annually. Prescribed to treat a C1 inhibiotr protein found in hereditary angioedema. The synthetic protein is a CI esterase inhibitor, manufactured by Viropharma. The disease is rare, yet the company reports $350 million in annual sales.
5. Folotyn: $320,000 annually. The cancer drug helps those with T-cell lymphoma. The short-course treatment is typically not given annually, but in $30,000 per month increments.
6. ACTH: $161,000 per average treatment. Prescribed to aid seizures in infants, the drug costs $23,000 per vial, with a typical treatment being 6-7 vials. The drug is not currently approved to treat infantile spasms, although it is also often prescribed off label – thereby not covered by insurance.
7. Myozyme: $100,000 (children), $300,000 (adults) annually. The treatment for Pompe disease allows suffers to typically stay off of respirators and continue to speak and walk. The disease and drug were featured in the movie Extraordinary Measures. Pompe disease disables the heart and skeletal muscles, leaving those without access to the drug immobile.
8. Arcalyst: $250,000 annually. Given to those who suffer from genetic immune system diseases, including Familiar Cold Auto-inflammatory Sndrome and Muckle-Wells Syndrome. The drug has also shown to help reduce incidence of gout.
9: Ceredase/Cerezyme: $150,000 annually. The expense of this drug to treat Gaucher disease – where the body pools fat in muscles and other areas due to an enzyme deficiency – is expensive due to supplies required. The drug is made in part from human placentas, which replace the missing enzyme. The drug results in more than $1 billion in annual sales.
10. Fabrazyme: $200,000 annually. Created to treat Fabry disease, an enzyme deficiency-related illness, Fabrazyme provides the ability for patients to metabolize lipids.