The manufacturer of new anticoagulant dabigatran has reduced its price by 13% amid concerns GP commissioners were set to place a series of restrictions on use of the drug to prevent it busting prescribing budgets.
Boehringer Ingelheim announced the cost reduction last week after Pulse revealed GPs were facing curbs on the use of dabigatran as an alternative to warfarin because of fears it would bring ‘huge cost pressures'.
The move also followed the draft approval of a second of the new breed of anticoagulants, rivaroxaban, as a potential alternative to warfarin.
Dabigatran's price fell from £2.52 per day to £2.20 per day on 1 April, just two weeks after NICE formally judged the treatment cost-effective for patients with atrial fibrillation and one additional risk factor for stroke.
Rivaroxaban has also been recommended in a draft NICE appraisal for use in patients with atrial fibrillation with one added risk factor, and costs £2.10 a day. Last month, GP commissioners in some areas predicted dabigatran would cost an additional £1,000 per patient annually, and were preparing to restrict it to only the highest-risk patients.
A spokesperson for Boehringer Ingelheim said the price reduction was partly in response to restrictions from clinical commissioning groups.
Duncan Cantor, director of communications at Boehringer Ingelheim, said the company was committed to offer the NHS the ‘very best value we can'.
‘We believe it is important to make our medicines as affordable as possible in this tough financial climate,' he added.
‘By lowering the price by 13%, the NHS now has every opportunity to make sure this medicine is available to all eligible patients.'
Dr Kathryn Griffith, a GPSI in cardiology in York, said: ‘The price change is to be welcomed, but it's still an expensive drug. I don't think the reduction will make much of a difference.'
But Dr Christopher Arden, a GPSI in cardiovascular disease in Eastleigh, Hampshire, said: ‘We are very excited about dabigatran from a clinical perspective and it helps everyone if it is at a sensible price.'
Anticoagulant price wars
£2.52 Dabigatran (original)
£2.20 Dabigatran (new price)
Price per day