Rise in cost of biologics for psoriasis outpacing medical inflation

The price of most biologics used to treat psoriasis is increasing rapidly, outpacing inflation, according to a research letter published online June 22 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Deep Patel, M.D., from Mount Sinai in New York City, and colleagues explored the costs of biologics over time to examine whether changes are proportional to medical inflation rates in a retrospective claims analysis utilizing data from the International Business Machines MarketScan Commercial Database from Jan. 1, 2005, through Dec. 31, 2018.

The researchers found that between 2005 and 2018, most biologics increased in cost per claim, including adalimumab (+224.49 percent), etanercept (+206.17 percent), infliximab (+123.57 percent), and certolizumab (+170.24 percent). From 2009 to 2018, there were increases observed for ustekinumab (+127.91 percent) and golimumab (+218.21 percent). A decrease was seen in the cost of secukinumab (−3.93 percent) from 2015 to 2018. The cost per claim for most biologics increased above that expected based on medical inflation alone, including for adalimumab (+203.72 percent), etanercept (+194.66 percent), infliximab (+126.90 percent), certolizumab (+164.06 percent), ustekinumab (+105.17 percent), and golimumab (+205.01 percent), while the change in the cost of secukinumab was below inflation (−3.87 percent).

“Mean yearly increase in medical inflation-adjusted price showed ustekinumab outpacing other agents, which—given the less frequent dosing of this agent—may suggest that other sources of yearly cost variation beyond manufacturing costs and market trends may be impacting biologic pricing,” the authors write. “New strategies to contain increase in cost above inflation are critical, such as biosimilar development to improve patient access to care.”

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