Study: Patients using Effient cost less

With governments and insurers fighting healthcare costs at every turn, a money-saving promise can carry big weight. Eli Lilly and Daiichi Sankyo hope so: A new study found that use of their new anti-clotting drug Effient produced an average cost savings of $221 per patient, compared with use of the Big Kahuna of clotbusters, Plavix.

Presented at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics meeting, the research was part of the 13,608-patient Triton study that supported Lilly and Daiichi's app for FDA approval. In the 6,700-patient subset, total costs for patients on Effient was $26,067 over 15 months, compared with $26,288 for those on Plavix. The savings figure accounted for the cost of hospital care, heart surgeries and other procedures, and the cost of the drugs themselves. 

According to the researchers, Effient cost more itself, but patients who took it had lower hospital costs and fewer surgical procedures, such as repeat angioplasties. "That $221 has a significant impact when you are improving patient outcomes versus the standard of care and reducing costs," said LeRoy LeNarz, a senior medical director at Lilly, told Bloomberg. And that could be a help once Plavix goes off patent and its price falls significantly. Even then, said study author David Cohen,  Effient's much higher price "may be justified based on projected gains in long-term survival."

- read the Bloomberg story