Cost: $149,762 per U.S. patient per year
Sprycel, the orphan drug from Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) and partner Otsuka Pharmaceutical, has done quite well in the face of some formidable competition. Novartis ($NVS), with its blood cancer drugs Gleevec and Tasigna, is the leader in the area. But Sprycel, approved for treating chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), has seen its numbers rise each quarter, selling $1.28 billion in 2013 and racking up $710 million in the first half of this year, providing BMS a much-needed boost.
One way it has done that is with the premium pricing it put on the treatment. At nearly $150,000 a year, it is more than 75% more expensive than Gleevec based on EvaluatePharma figures showing that in 2013, Gleevec ran $84,373 for a year of treatment.
Drugs like Gleevec and Sprycel have turned conditions like CML into chronic diseases, but the extreme cost of keeping people alive has brought criticism. It certainly caught the attention of authorities in India. The country has the authority to give out compulsory licenses to Indian companies to make knockoffs of drugs it deems too expensive, which is exactly what India is considering for Sprycel.
Special Report: Top 20 orphan drugs by 2018 - Sprycel
Bristol-Myers impresses with trimmed-down costs, pumped-up sales
Bristol-Myers Squibb gets a boost for leukemia drug Sprycel
India to hit Roche, BMS with compulsory licenses on 3 cancer drugs
-- Eric Palmer (email | Twitter)