New Novartis MS drug gets FDA nod — and is already facing price scrutiny

March 27, 2019

The FDA has green-lighted a new treatment for patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS). But the drug, Mayzent, is already facing potential roadblocks for sales. 

According to the company, Mayzent, which was developed to help patients whose condition is worsening beyond intermittent attacks, will come with an $88,000-per year price tag. Although the drug will compete directly with Novartis’s older MS treatment, Gilenya, which is priced higher at $95,549 per year, some analysts have speculated that the many patients could still view Mayzent as cost prohibitive. 

There are also concerns that doctors may not be as likely to prescribe Mayzent, either because they don’t know about the new option, or because MS patients tend to stay on the same course of medications even as their disease progresses. 

But if Novartis can effectively educate doctors about Mayzent and leverage the treatment as a cheaper alternative, the drug could still be a cash cow for Novartis. Analysts have predicted that sales for Mayzent will cross the $1 billion blockbuster threshold by 2022.  

Read the full Retuers report.