An Affordable Alternative for Daraprim: $1 per Pill
Express Scripts today announced it will partner with Imprimis Pharmaceuticals to drive access to a low-cost alternative to Daraprim (pyrimethamine), a drug for the treatment of toxoplasmosis that has been recently priced out of reach for people with HIV, pregnant women and others with weakened immune systems.
Imprimis is offering a compounded oral formulation of pyrimethamine and leucovorin (a form of folic acid) for as low as $1 per capsule for people whose pharmacy benefit is managed by Express Scripts. While the 62-year-old Daraprim was priced $13.50 per pill earlier this year, its owner Turing Pharmaceuticals made the decision in September to increase the price to $750 per pill.
The companies expect that prescriptions for the pyrimethamine and leucovorin from Imprimis will be processed starting as early as this week for Express Scripts patients who need the treatment.
“Leveraging our expertise to improve access and affordability to an important medication is the right thing to do for HIV patients and others who could benefit from a combination of pyrimethamine and leucovorin,” said Dr. Steve Miller, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Express Scripts. “We believe we now have a safe, high-quality and extremely cost-effective way to provide access to a Daraprim alternative. We will share our solution with other payers to make sure all appropriate patients around the country have access to the treatment they need at the lowest possible price.”
Working with leading organizations like Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) and the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA), Express Scripts will help educate physicians on the value of prescribing this viable, far less expensive alternative to Daraprim.
Physicians will be able to send a patient-specific prescription for the combination formulation of pyrimethamine and leucovorin to Imprimis, which is now a part of the Express Scripts pharmacy network. Imprimis will compound the two drugs together into a safe alternative for patients.
“Our goal is always to put medicine within reach by making it more affordable and accessible,” said Dr. Miller. “By partnering with like-minded partners at Imprimis, the IDSA and HIVMA who are passionate about patient care and access, we believe we can make great progress in delivering better health outcomes to people who suffer from toxoplasmosis.”
“We are pleased to partner with Express Scripts to take positive action to counterbalance companies like Turing and others in order to address the growing drug pricing crisis in America,” stated Mark L. Baum, CEO of Imprimis Pharmaceuticals. “Like Imprimis, Express Scripts believes in putting patients first and that the excessive drug price increases we have seen over the past few years, particularly for life saving medicines such as Daraprim, deserve our attention. In order to address these market needs, Imprimis formed the Imprimis Cares initiative to offer novel, high quality low cost alternative compounded formulations to help this at-risk patient population. We look forward to the expansion of the Imprimis Cares program and continuing our partnership with Express Scripts to identify and provide additional market based solutions to expensive single source, off patent drugs.”