Most of the most prescribed medications in America are to treat pain or lower the risk of heart disease. At the top of that list, according to Medicine.net, are Vicodin, Zocor and Metformin. Many of these are available for as little as $5 because of the health insurance copay system. The prices of some rare drugs can be hundreds or even thousands of times that expensive.
Prescription expense drug screener GoodRx looked at the most expensive drugs in America. According to Becker’s Hospital Review: “GoodRx tracked the most expensive drugs in the country, including drugs filled at pharmacies and drugs that can only be administered by healthcare professionals.”
The figures were based on the annualized cost of a typical length of treatment. The analysis pointed out that the price of most of these drugs has remained flat since March. Only Folotyn has had a price increase. It rose 3% between April and July. Its price, based on the methodology, is $817,865. It is used, in certain cases, to treat T-cell lymphoma.
The most expensive drug on the list is Zolgensma, at a one-time cost of $2,125,000. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2019. According to the European Medicines Agency: “Zolgensma is a gene therapy medicine for treating spinal muscular atrophy, a serious condition of the nerves that causes muscle wasting and weakness.”
This medication is the only gene treatment for this condition. The reason for the high price almost certainly reflects the costs to develop it. The drug was developed by pharmaceutical company AveXis. GoodRx points out that most insurance companies do not cover this cost. However, the drug only needs to be administered once. One way Folotyn is more “affordable” is that an insurance company can make payments spread over five years.
Here is the average annual cost of the 10 most expensive drugs in America:
- Zolgensma: $2,125,000
- Zokinvy: $1,032,480
- Danyelza: $977,664
- Myalept: $889,904
- Luxturna: $850,000
- Folotyn: $817,865
- Brineura: $730,340
- Blincyto: $712,672
- Ravicti: $695,970
- Soliris: $678,392