Los Angeles Times

FDA approves new cholestero­l drug


The Food and Drug Administra­tion approved a first-ofa-kind drug that lowers artery-clogging cholestero­l more than older drugs that have been prescribed for decades.

The drug from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceut­icals Inc. offers an important new option for millions of patients at high risk of heart disease.

But the drug’s sky-high price tag — $14,600 per year — is certain to escalate debate about the cost of breakthrou­gh drugs and who should take them.

Praluent is the first in a new class of biotech medication­s that use a novel approach to lower bad, or LDL, cholestero­l. The drugs are considered the first major advance in treatment since the introducti­on of statin drugs more than 20 years ago, and analysts expect them to generate billions in sales.

But the prospect of introducin­g highly expensive, injectable drugs for one of the most common medical conditions is drawing concerns from health insurers, doctors and employers, especially since generic statin pills are now available for as little as a dime a day.

The FDA is scheduled to rule on a similar drug from Thousand Oaks-based Amgen by Aug. 27.

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