Some prescription drug prices have changed little over past years, but others have soared. Here are the most expensive prescription drugs now on the market.
Prescription drugs are often generic and relatively inexpensive, but that’s certainly not the case with other prescription drugs. In fact, especially when it comes to new treatments for rare or potentially deadly diseases, the cost can be almost hard to fathom.
For example, the cost of a month’s supply of the 20 most expensive prescription drugs in 2020 ranges from over $70,000 to just under $30,000 a month in the U.S., according to a report in Becker’s Hospital Review.
The top five most expensive prescription drugs in 2020
GoodRx, an online drug price comparison platform, researches and publishes a list of the most expensive prescription drugs each year, based on information from pharmaceutical maker websites about the medications’ monthly cost.
Here are the five most expensive prescription drugs in 2020:
- With a price tag of $71,306, Myalept, produced by Amyl Pharma, is the most costly prescription medication on the list. The drug treats a rare condition caused by a deficiency of the fat-regulating hormone leptin which, in turns, results in abnormal fat distribution in the body (lipodystrophy).
- Costing $55,341 for a month’s supply, Horizon Therapeutics’ Ravicti is the second most expensive prescription drug. It’s used in children and adults of all ages (including babies as young as two months ) to treat genetic conditions that cause high levels of toxic and potentially deadly levels of ammonia in the blood.
- Mavenclad, number three in cost, is a new drug produced by EMD Serono that treats the relapsing form of multiple sclerosis. Approved in March of 2019, it is used in two treatment courses, 12 months apart; each 10-day treatment course cost $53,730.
- Horizon Therapeutics’ Actimmune is approved for two rare inherited disorders — osteopetrosis (also called marble bone disease or Albers-Schönberg disease), which causes bones to harden like rigid rocks, and chronic granulomatous disease, which causes serious malfunctions of the immune system. Actimmune comes in single-dose vials and is injected three times a week. The cost of the treatment adds up to a whopping $52,777 a month, making Actimmune the fourth most expensive prescription medication in the U.S.
- Oxervate, the fifth most costly prescription drug in 2020, is manufactured by pharmaceutical company Dompé. Approved in 2019, it’s the first drug ever available to treat a rare, degenerative condition of the cornea called neurotrophic keratitis, which can cause corneal thinning, ulceration, and even perforation. Vials of the eye drops containing the drug cost about $48,498 for a month’s supply.
More of the most expensive prescription drugs in 2020
Here are 15 more drugs that round out the list of the top 20 most expensive prescription medications in the U.S., based on monthly price.
- Takhzyro, manufactured by Shire, treats hereditary angioedema. Cost: $45,464.
- Daraprim, from Vyera Pharmaceuticals, is prescribed for people with AIDS, or who have received organ transplants, to prevent infections. It is also used to treat toxoplasmosis in otherwise healthy people. Cost: $45,000.
- Juxtapid, from Amryt Pharma, is prescribed for a hereditary condition called homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia which, untreated, leads to cardiovascular disease. Cost: $44,714.
- Cinryze, manufactured by Shire, treats hereditary angioedema. Cost: $44,141
- Chenodal, manufactured by Retrophin, dissolves gallstones. Cost: $42,570.
- Gattex, produced by Takeda, treats short bowel syndrome which, untreated, can cause malnutrition. Cost: $40,450.
- Acthar, from Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, is prescribed for many conditions, including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, infantile spasms, eye disorders, and psoriatic arthritis. Cost: $39,864.
- Tegsedi, produced by Akcea Therapeutics, treats hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis, a rare and slow-progressing disease causing a toxic accumulation of proteins in organs and tissue. Cost: $34,600.
- Vitrakvi, from Bayer Pharmaceuticals, is a cancer treatment for patients with a specific gene mutation. Cost: $32,800.
- Ayvaki, from Blueprint Medicines, January 2020, is prescribed for gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Cost: $32,000.
- Kynamro, manufactured by Kastle Therapeutics,treats homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, a genetic disorder that can lead to premature cardiovascular disease. Cost: $30,444.
- Sovaldi, manufactured by Gilead, treats hepatitis C. Cost: $28,000.
- Viekira Pak, from Abbvie, also treats hepatitis C; it’s specifically for genotype 1, the most common hepatitis C strain in the U.S. Cost: $27,773.
- Viekira XR, also from Abbvie, is the extended release version of Viekira Pak for hepatitis C. Cost: $27,773.
- Tibsovo, produced by Agios Pharmaceuticals, is the first treatment developed for acute myeloid leukemia in patients with a specific genetic mutation. Cost: $27,421.
August 19, 2020
Janet O'Dell, RN