This June, the FDA approved Epidiolex (cannabidiol), the first-ever agency-approved treatment that contains a purified drug substance derived from marijuana, AIS Health reported. The oral solution, produced by GW Pharmaceuticals plc, is indicated for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare forms of childhood-onset epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome, for patients ages two and older.
The average gross price for Epidiolex will be $32,500 per year, Julian Gangolli, North America president of GW Pharmaceuticals, said during the company's Aug. 7 earnings call.
As with any pricey new therapy, payers will need to prepare their coverage options. Mesfin Tegenu, president of PerformRx, LLC, says "plans are naturally cautious regarding any new medication to market."
"Epidiolex has a very specific FDA approved indication for specific forms of seizures, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) or Dravet syndrome," he says. "Off label use may be a concern, so most plans are likely to place a prior authorization on the medication to ensure appropriate use."