Insurers mull coverage for Pfizer's $225K heart disease drug

While Pfizer gained approval for its drug tafamidis to treat a rare and fatal heart disease, whether insurers and employers will cover the drug's list price — $225,000 — remains uncertain, according to Forbes contributor Bruce Japsen.

Pfizer received FDA approval May 6 for Vyndaqel, the brand name for the medicine. Vyndaqel is approved to treat transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy. Pfizer said the disease affects about 100,000 people in the U.S., the majority of whom are undiagnosed. About 2,000 to 5,000 patients are currently diagnosed with the heart disease worldwide.

The approval comes as pharmaceutical companies are facing increased pressure to lower drug prices. A spokesperson for Express Scripts, now owned by Cigna, told Forbes that Vyndaqel "is currently excluded from our National Preferred Formulary until our Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee reviews and provides guidance. We don't have a timeframe on that at the moment."

Pfizer told Reuters May 6 it is confident that insurers will reimburse the $225,000 price.

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