Many 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, however, can be hundreds or even thousands of times more expensive.
Prescription expense drug screener GoodRx used the official manufacturer list price to find the most expensive drugs in America. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, GoodRx tracked “drugs filled at pharmacies and drugs that can only be administered by healthcare professionals.” The most expensive drug, GoodRx found, is Zolgensma, used to treat spinal muscular atrophy.
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. The course of a Folotyn treatment, which can last weeks, is $817,865 based on the methodology. It is used to treat some patients with T-cell lymphoma, a rare type of cancer.
The most expensive drug, Zolgensma, comes at a one-time cost of $2,125,000. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration 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.” Most of these drugs also have serious side effects. These are the 25 most dangerous drugs.
This medication is the only gene treatment for this condition. The treatment’s 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.