Uptravi approved in late December 2015

Breakthrough treatment for a rare high blood pressure condition offers promising results

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a rare type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in the lungs and the right side of the heart. Although rare, PAH tends to affect females between the ages of 20 and 50.2

About 1,000 new cases of PAH are diagnosed in the United States each year. New cases occur in one to two individuals per million each year.3 Symptoms include fainting spells and severe shortness of breath following exertion.

As the condition worsens, other symptoms can include dizziness, swelling (edema) of the ankles or legs, chest pain and a racing pulse.3

Small arteries and capillaries in the lungs become narrowed, blocked or destroyed. As lung artery pressure increases, the heart's lower right chamber works harder to pump blood through the lungs. The heart muscle weakens and eventually fails, even with proper treatment.

According to the American Lung Association, about 50 percent of people who have been diagnosed with PAH will die from the disease within five years. Treatment with Uptravi can to delay disease progression and reduce the risk of hospitalization for PAH.4

Impact on spend

Cost for Uptravi is estimated at $160,000 to $170,000 per year.5 Prime estimates that 0.5 per 100,000 commercially insured will use Uptravi at one year post launch.6.

Strategies to manage Uptravi

Prime is prepared to manage Uptravi and help control costs through utilization management programs to help guide appropriate use.

Uptravi is a limited distribution drug, and Prime Therapeutics Specialty Pharmacy™ will not have access immediately at launch.

Next: Prime joins Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing

1 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “FDA approves new orphan drug to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension.” December 22, 2015.

2. "Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension." May 28, 2015. WebMD, LLC. Accessed at:  http://www.webmd.com/lung/pulmonary-hypertension-primary.

3 Genetics Home Reference: Pulmonary arterial hypertension. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved on December 14, 2015. http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/pulmonary-arterial-hypertension.

4. Actelion receives US FDA approval of Uptravi (selexipag) for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension.” Dec 22, 2015. Actelion.  Accessed at: http://www1.actelion.com/en/our-company/news-and-events.page?newsId=1975263

5. “Actelion sees Uptravi price of $160,000-170,000/patient.” By JOHN MILLER Jan 5, 2016. Reuters, Inc. Accessed at: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-actelion-pah-prices-idUSKBN0UJ1SQ20160105

6.Prime internal analysis

Prime Therapeutics Specialty Pharmacy LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Prime Therapeutics LLC.

Drug names are the property of their respective owners. 

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