Ibrance is approved. Now what?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved Ibrance. This new oral medicine from Pfizer Inc. treats advanced breast cancer in postmenopausal women who haven’t received endocrine treatment. It has shown promising results when paired with letrozole. In clinical trials, this combination stopped tumors from growing for 20.2 months. That is about twice as long as letrozole alone.[1]

We’re forecasting that 6 in every 100,000 commercially-insured Prime members will use Ibrance in the next 12 months.[2] This drug has the potential to change their lives. But it also comes at a high cost — estimated at $9,850 per month ($118,200 per year). We expect Ibrance to have a new net impact to trend of about $0.50 per member per month (PMPM). [2]

On the Medicare side, an estimated 22 of every 100,000 members will use Ibrance in the next 12 months, with a net new impact to trend of approximately $1.85 PMPM on the pharmacy benefit.[2]

Actively managing breast cancer drugs is an important part of managing cancer drug costs.

We’re prepared to actively manage Ibrance and help control costs. To achieve this, we’ve expedited the addition of Ibrance to our existing oral oncology prior authorization program. Through Prime Therapeutics Specialty PharmacyTM (Prime Specialty Pharmacy), we’re also:

  • Offering access to Ibrance (a limited distribution drug) as soon as it becomes available
  • Helping members who need Ibrance get it safely, conveniently and affordably
  • Reaching out to educate members to encourage adherence through care management

For more information on managing Ibrance, please read our market alert.


[1] Armental, Maria. “Pfizer’s advanced breast cancer drug Ibrance approved for sale.” The Wall Street Journal. February 3, 2015.

[2] Prime internal data. (2015).


Connected specialty drug management helps drive bigger savings. Read more.

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