Critical heart drug too pricey for some Medicare patients

July 22, 2019

An effective drug to treat chronic heart failure may cost too much for senior citizens with a standard Medicare Part D drug plan, said a study co-authored by a John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) researcher at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

The therapy is a combination of sacubitril/valsartan called Entresto®. Researchers found that, even with insurance, the cost to Medicare patients may be more than $1,600 a year.

"This drug is the standard of care for the people with significant congestive heart failure according to both the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology guidelines, yet it's priced so high that, even with insurance, patients may not be able to afford it," said senior author Chien-Wen Tseng, HMSA Endowed Chair in Health Services and Quality Research at JABSOM and physician investigator with Honolulu's Pacific Health Research and Education Institute.

The study co-authors worry that, since Entresto® is a pricey, brand-name drug, such high copayments may result in patients not taking it at all. And that comes with a steep price.

"The science shows that this drug can help save lives," said Tseng, pointing to clinical studies showing the therapy has reduced deaths from heart failure by 20 percent. "We need to figure out a way to deal with its $5,000 price tag, and how folks on Medicare can afford to pay $1,600 each year in copayments to benefit from it."

Current laws prohibit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from negotiating drug prices with pharmaceutical companies on behalf of Medicare Part D beneficiaries. As a result, said lead researcher Colette DeJong of the University of California at San Francisco, "Paying $1,600 per year for a single drug could be a huge hardship for many older adults who lived on an average income of less than $25,000 in 2017. Changing the laws that prevent Medicare from negotiating drug prices on behalf of seniors and people living with disabilities would be one step toward curbing these skyrocketing out-of-pocket costs."
-end-
For more information, visit: http://go.hawaii.edu/bsG

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Related Heart Failure Articles from Brightsurf:

Top Science Tip Sheet on heart failure, heart muscle cells, heart attack and atrial fibrillation results
Newly discovered pathway may have potential for treating heart failure - New research model helps predict heart muscle cells' impact on heart function after injury - New mass spectrometry approach generates libraries of glycans in human heart tissue - Understanding heart damage after heart attack and treatment may provide clues for prevention - Understanding atrial fibrillation's effects on heart cells may help find treatments - New research may lead to therapy for heart failure caused by ICI cancer medication

Machining the heart: New predictor for helping to beat chronic heart failure
Researchers from Kanazawa University have used machine learning to predict which classes of chronic heart failure patients are most likely to experience heart failure death, and which are most likely to develop an arrhythmic death or sudden cardiac death.

Heart attacks, heart failure, stroke: COVID-19's dangerous cardiovascular complications
A new guide from emergency medicine doctors details the potentially deadly cardiovascular complications COVID-19 can cause.

Autoimmunity-associated heart dilation tied to heart-failure risk in type 1 diabetes
In people with type 1 diabetes without known cardiovascular disease, the presence of autoantibodies against heart muscle proteins was associated with cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging evidence of increased volume of the left ventricle (the heart's main pumping chamber), increased muscle mass, and reduced pumping function (ejection fraction), features that are associated with higher risk of failure in the general population

Transcendental Meditation prevents abnormal enlargement of the heart, reduces chronic heart failure
A randomized controlled study recently published in the Hypertension issue of Ethnicity & Disease found the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique helps prevent abnormal enlargement of the heart compared to health education (HE) controls.

Beta blocker use identified as hospitalization risk factor in 'stiff heart' heart failure
A new study links the use of beta-blockers to heart failure hospitalizations among those with the common 'stiff heart' heart failure subtype.

Type 2 diabetes may affect heart structure and increase complications and death among heart failure patients of Asian ethnicity
The combination of heart failure and Type 2 diabetes can lead to structural changes in the heart, poorer quality of life and increased risk of death, according to a multi-country study in Asia.

Preventive drug therapy may increase right-sided heart failure risk in patients who receive heart devices
Patients treated preemptively with drugs to reduce the risk of right-sided heart failure after heart device implantation may experience the opposite effect and develop heart failure and post-operative bleeding more often than patients not receiving the drugs.

How the enzyme lipoxygenase drives heart failure after heart attacks
Heart failure after a heart attack is a global epidemic leading to heart failure pathology.

Novel heart pump shows superior outcomes in advanced heart failure
Severely ill patients with advanced heart failure who received a novel heart pump -- the HeartMate 3 left ventricular assist device (LVAD) -- suffered significantly fewer strokes, pump-related blood clots and bleeding episodes after two years, compared with similar patients who received an older, more established pump, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology's 68th Annual Scientific Session.

Read More: Heart Failure News and Heart Failure Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.