Amgen’s Repatha Reduces Cholesterol and Cuts Risk of Cardiovascular-related Deaths: Report

Amgen’s Repatha Reduces Cholesterol and Cuts Risk of Cardiovascular-related Deaths: Report

Amgen’s Repatha has showcased impressive results in reduction of LDL cholesterol and death due to cardiovascular-related reasons. In a clinical trial, Repatha, a man-made antibody also known as evolocumab, has been associated with 20 percent reduction in risk of death due to heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular-related issues. However, the high cost of treatment has already started a debate on the drug and ever increasing drug prices. Repatha would cost nearly $14,000 per year and this cost is considerably higher compared to other options available for reducing LDL cholesterol.

Result of study involving Repatha were shared on Friday at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology. Millions of people in the United States and other parts of the world take statins regularly to reduce their cholesterol level. However, statins are quite cheap and they are generally prescribed by doctors across the world. A small percentage of patients can’t tolerate statins and Repatha could help them in keeping their cholesterol level in control.

The results showcased by study involving Repatha are impressive but some doctors were expecting even better results for reduction in heart disease risk. Insurance companies have been trying to escape costly Repatha and have asked the company to provide better proof of reduction in heart disease risk.

Repatha shots are given once or twice in a month while patients take statins regularly. Repatha and a similar drug, Praluent, called PCSK9 inhibitors, were approved in 2015 for people with inherited risk for high cholesterol, or heart disease that had already caused a problem such as a heart attack. The study tested Repatha in more than 27,500 people like this who had LDL above 70 (the recommended upper limit for such patients) despite maximum statin use.

After about two years, Repatha, used along with statins, reduced LDL from a median of 92 to 30. It also proved safe — side effects were similar to those from a dummy drug.

Repatha cut by 20 percent the combined risk of having either a heart attack, stroke or a heart-related death. That happened to nearly 6 percent of people on Repatha versus more than 7 percent on the dummy drug. The benefit grew with longer use, and was 25 percent the second year, said Sabatine, who consults for Amgen and other drugmakers.

The results were published Friday by the New England Journal of Medicine and discussed at an American College of Cardiology conference.

President Trump has promised that his administration will work on reducing the cost of drugs. In the recent years, cost of many drugs has been increased by pharmaceutical companies and those drug price increases have been contested by insurance companies, politicians and consumer groups.