The United States just received the first two treatments for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, however, while Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH‘s therapy, OFEV (nintedanib), will cost $96,000 per year, its competitor, Esbriet (pirfenidone) from InterMune/Roche Holding AG won’t cost much less, according to a news report from Bloomberg. Both therapies recently received approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help treat the disease, which leads to death of 60 to 80 percent of IPF patients within five years of diagnosis.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic disease, and as a result, patients need medication and treatment throughout their lives. Depending on whether or not a prescribing physician chooses Roche’s Esbriet over OFEV, the choice in not likely to be made over their price tags, since the company has announced that their product will cost $94,000 a year. Despite the treatment costs, Boehringer’s U.S. Chief Executive Officer, Paul Fonteyne, explained that the company consulted the market prior to establishing the price.
“What you end up doing is a lot of interviews and research with patient associations, patients, physicians, payers, and you try to triangulate on a price that on the one hand provides access to the medicine to these parties and on the other hand allows you to recoup your investment,” Fonteyne said in an interview to Cynthia Koons at Bloomberg.
Boehringer, a Germany-based company, already announced that is going to provide financial support to patients who need the drug but cannot afford it. The Pulmonary Fibrosis Association applauded the approval of the drugs, and called it a landmark for the fight against the disease, encouraging more patients to participate in studies and campaigns to advance research on IPF.
Both of the companies announced that it won’t take them more than a few weeks to launch their products, which should be ready to be prescribed by the beginning of November. Even though it was expected that Boehinger’s drug Ofev would be approved after Roche’s Esbriet, both were approved jointly. While Ofev has also recently engaged in the approval process in Europe and Japan, Esbriet has already been available in the European Union since 2011.