The first action Ariad took upon relaunch was to reduce the number of Iclusig pills in each bottle prescribed to CML patients. The price of each Iclusig bottle remained the same, however, so the net effect was a significant stealth increase in the drug's overall price.
After that, Ariad started pushing through Iclusig price hikes on a regular basis. By early 2015, Iclusig's monthly gross price was $11,280. In January 2016: $13,025. April 2016: $14,068. July 2016: $15,334. Most recently, as mentioned above, Ariad now charges $16,561 for a month's supply of Iclusig.
In four years, the one-year treatment cost of Iclusig has increased 73%. The drug now costs almost 50% more than Tasigna and Sprycel.
Ariad says the price hikes are justified because Iclusig "addresses an area of high unmet medical need in an ultra-orphan patient population of around 1,000-2,000 patients per year."
But wait a second -- The only reason Iclusig is targeted at so few CML patients is because the drug is not safe enough for a broader swath of CML patients.
Use of Iclusig is restricted. Ariad screwed up, but now uses its mistake as justification for embarking on a rapacious drug pricing strategy.That's chutzpah! No wonder drug companies are so hated.