American pharmacy chain CVS Health has added 35 products to its list of excluded drugs and will not cover certain diabetes and cancer treatments, in an attempt to tackle “hyperinflationary” drugs and expand access to biosimilars.
The company, which has more than 9600 pharmacy stores, has decided to include Medivation’s cancer drug Xtandi, Sanofi’s insulin Lantus, Novartis’s cancer drug Gleevec and AstraZeneca’s statin Crestor.
The company is also embracing what it calls “the future with biosimilars and follow-on biologics” as it will now cover Sandoz’s biosimilar Zarxio, replacing originator Amgen’s Neupogen. Furthermore, they will replace Lantus with Eli Lilly’s Basaglar, which has been approved as a biosimilar in Europe but not in the US.
Its decision to drop certain drugs was an effort to tackle hyperinflationary pricing. CVS indicates: “On a quarterly basis, products with egregious cost inflation that have readily-available, clinically appropriate and more cost-effective alternatives may be evaluated and potentially removed from the formulary.”
One company, in particular, is singled out in the statement. CVS says: “For example, among the hyperinflationary drugs that will be removed in 2017 is Alcortin A external gel by Novum Pharmaceuticals which saw a price inflation of 2856.8% in the last three years.”
The company believes that is approach to excluding certain drugs will generate total savings of more than $9 billion for clients from 2012 through 2017.