Two New Drugs Approved By FDA To Treat Deadly Lung Disease


The FDA approved “two new drugs that are the first treatments shown to slow the progression of a fatal lung disease that kills up to 40% of patients within five years of diagnosis,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

The drugs are Esbriet, produced by Roche Holding, and Ofev, produced by Boehringer Ingelheim. They “treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF, a condition whose cause is unknown but which is devastating to the roughly 100,000 people in the U.S. who have the disease.”

The “simultaneous approvals set the stage for a marketing battle between the companies.” According to some doctors, “their effectiveness appeared to be similar.”

Other doctors say the “drugs’ effectiveness in slowing down the disease is modest, and the drugs are far from a cure… Nonetheless, they are the first therapies to offer patients a realistic expectation of extending their lives.”

Esbriet will cost $94,000 annually and the price for Ofev has not been announced yet. The “high cost of the drugs could limit insurer reimbursement to patients with mild to moderate disease, which represent an estimated one-third of patients treated for IPF in the U.S.”

Whether or not patients will be able to afford the medication drug will depend largely on insurer and government reimbursement.

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