More than 8 million Americans have psoriasis, with about 150,000 new recorded cases every year. The rising psoriasis treatment costs are putting increasing strain on the healthcare system, as new biologics reach the market at an accelerated pace.
Over the past fifteen years, pharmaceutical companies have been developing and releasing to market costly biologics for the treatment of psoriasis. Seven of the eleven currently approved biologics were released within the past five years, not including biosimilars, and there are yet more in the pipeline. Although biologic treatments are a valuable tool in the treatment of psoriasis, they are frequently being chosen over more established, cost-effective, and efficacious treatments such as phototherapy and conventional systemic agents. The push by clinicians and patients for biologic treatments has caused a dramatic increase in the cost to treat psoriasis, which has placed an increasing strain on the healthcare system.
Increasing Psoriasis Treatment Costs
For example, the estimated monthly cost to achieve a 75% reduction in Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI 75) score, the most common end-point establishing efficacy for a medication in clinical studies, varies considerably amongst treatments. While methotrexate costs are estimated at just under $800 to a little over $1,500 per month, the estimated cost for the least expensive biologic, brodolimuab, is over $4,000 per month. The monthly cost of other biologics can be as high as a little over $14,000 for ustekinumab. The average annual cost of treating a new psoriasis patient with apremilast, a small molecule drug, commonly known as Otezla, jumped 16 percent from $27,806 in 2016 to $34,213 in 2017, according to a study published in January in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
It has become increasingly difficult to contain costs as The National Psoriasis Foundation and Let My Doctors Decide, a patient advocacy group led by the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association and others are pushing back against ‘try and fail’/step therapy, which has been an effective and appropriate means for determining the need for more costly treatments.
Webinar on the efficacy and costs of psoriasis treatments
To address these challenges, AllMed held a webinar on October 24 and produced a position paper as a resource to help health plans, managed care organizations, TPAs and providers stay up to date on the efficacy and costs of psoriasis treatments. Based on the most current clinical research and opinions, this webinar provides timely and valuable insights into the growing number of treatment options for psoriasis to help payer organizations and providers make more informed decisions.
Weighing Psoriasis Treatment Options
This 30-min interactive discussion examines the treatment options for psoriasis using a real patient case to help payer organizations and providers make informed, evidence-based decisions.
 D’Souza, L.S. and Payette, M.J., 2015. Estimated cost efficacy of systemic treatments that are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of moderate to severe psoriasis. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 72(4), pp.589-598  Feldman, S.R., Wu, J.J., Armstrong, A.W., Lebwohl, M., Jacobson, A.A., Lingohr-Smith, M. and Lin, J., 2019. Evaluating Costs of Biologic Drugs for the Treatment of Moderate-to-Severe Psoriasis in the United States. Journal of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis, Volume: 4 issue: 3, page(s): 133-142