Pfizer launches rebate program for rare disease patients who have to stop taking Panzyga
Pfizer is launching its second-ever rebate program, this time for Panzyga, its treatment for a rare neurological disease of the peripheral nerves.
The program began last month, according to STAT which first reported the news, and offers a refund of out-of-pocket costs for patients who must discontinue their course before the fifth treatment for “clinical reasons.”
Panzyga was approved back in 2018 to treat primary immunodeficiency (PI) in patients two years and older and chronic immune thrombocytopenia (cITP) in adults. It has since picked up an indication in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), a condition that’s characterized by weakness of the arms or legs, tingling or numbness, and a loss of deep tendon reflexes, according to the NIH.
At wholesale cost, Panzyga can run up a tab from around $193 to $5,790 per vial, depending on the dose amount, according to information provided recently to Colorado prescribers. Panzyga is administered in two loading doses, followed by maintenance doses every three weeks.
To take the edge off, Pfizer says it will refund CIPD patients for their out-of-pocket costs for the first four treatments if the drug doesn’t work out, up to a maximum of $16,500 per treatment or $50,000 total.
“If your commercial insurance and/or other payers (“Your Plan(s)”) paid for all or a portion of the cost of PANZYGA, Pfizer will, on your behalf, refund Your Plan(s) the Average Sales Price as calculated by Pfizer up to the Maximum, less documented out-of-pocket payments provided by you or on your behalf,” the company’s website states.
While Pfizer’s rebate program for its cancer drug Xalkori is available to Medicare patients, the Panzyga program is only available to commercially-insured patients or those who pay cash, excluding patients covered by government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.
Under the Xalkori program, eligible patients can get their out-of-pocket costs covered if they discontinue the drug before the fourth 30-day supply is administered.
The Panzyga rebate only applies if the drug was discontinued for “clinical reasons defined at the discretion of the healthcare provider,” according to Pfizer. Patients who stop taking the drug by choice or because of affordability don’t qualify. Patients are also disqualified if they’ve used another immunoglobulin product in the past 12 months.
“Access to treatment for Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy may be a barrier for patients across the U.S.,” a Pfizer spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “As part of our commitment to patients and belief in our medicines, Pfizer is proud to offer the Pfizer Pledge Warranty Program for PANZYGA. PANZYGA, approved by the U.S. FDA for the treatment of CIDP, has an established clinical profile and HCPs are able to assess patient response within the first few treatments administered.”
The news comes as the Senate recently passed major drug pricing reform, which would enable Medicare negotiations and cap seniors’ out-of-pocket costs at $2,000 per year. While President Joe Biden touted the legislation as a “critical step” that would “help Americans save money on prescription drugs, health premiums, and much more,” pharma execs have argued that the bill will stymie innovation.