Data on investigational cholesterol-lowering meds to be presented at cardiology meeting

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Amgen, which makes Repatha (evolocumab), one investigational cholesterol-lowering PCSK9 inhibitor, plans to present seven abstracts about the drug at the upcoming American College of Cardiology's annual scientific session and expo.

The FDA is expected to approve PCSK9 inhibitors for the first time this year. The investigational drugs are expected to be one area of focus at meeting, which starts Saturday.

Endocrinologists and cardiologists will do most of the prescribing of PCSK9 inhibitors after the initial approvals of the drugs, which are also expected to increase drug spending in the US, CVS Health executives wrote in Health Affairs in February.

Generic high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure drugs helped drive down spending on those medications in 2014, according to Express Scripts' annual drug spending report. But once PCSK9s are approved by the FDA, it's expected that some patients currently taking generic statins that cost less than $100 each year will start undergoing treatment with PCSK9 inhibitors that may cost $10,000 per year per patient, a change that will mean higher drug costs.

“While these new discoveries can help patients who do not respond optimally to currently available treatment, their potential cost and use among these expansive patient populations is a concern for payers,” Express Scripts said in its annual spending review.

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