FDA approves Dupixent to treat severe eczema

The Food and Drug Administration yesterday approved a breakthrough drug to treat people with severe eczema. The remedy would however, does not come cheap.

The drug, to be called Dupixent, will carry a list price of $37,000 a year. But, according to commentators, the price was still lower than many other commonly used biologic drugs, such as Humira and Enbrel, that treated other skin diseases.

The drug makers Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi opted to engage in direct negotiations with insurers over the price and other details rather than get involved in a public battle over soaring drug prices.

The prices of drugs had come under heightened scrutiny over the last few years, with president Trump, promising several times to crack down on drug companies over their costly products.

''Things have really deteriorated in our industry,'' The New York Times quoted Dr Leonard S Schleifer, the chief executive of Regeneron. ''There's so much concern over drug pricing that there's an enormous amount of finger-pointing that is going on that's counterproductive. It isn't necessarily incentivizing the right behaviour.''

Meanwhile, the US Food and Drug Administration said in a press release yesterday:

"The US Food and Drug Administration today approved Dupixent (dupilumab) injection to treat adults with moderate-to-severe eczema (atopic dermatitis). Dupixent is intended for patients whose eczema is not controlled adequately by topical therapies, or those for whom topical therapies are not advisable. Dupixent can be used with or without topical corticosteroids.

''FDA's approval of Dupixent demonstrates our commitment to approving new and innovative therapies for patients with skin disease,'' said Julie Beitz, MD, director of the Office of Drug Evaluation III in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

''Eczema can cause significant skin irritation and discomfort for patients, so it is important to have a variety of treatment options available to patients, including those patients whose disease is not controlled by topical therapies.''