A new cholesterol-lowering medication manufactured by Esperion Therapeutics was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Friday, a decision that will allow the company to test whether price is the biggest barrier to new heart medications on the market.
Heart drugs have had a tough go of it in recent years. Repatha and Praluent, expected to be multibillion sellers, instead saw sales stagnate. Their makers took the unusual step of cutting the drugs’ prices by 60%. Entresto, a Novartis heart failure drug, had a slow start before sales took off. But now there is broadened interest. Amarin expects sales of its fish-oil-derived pill, Vascepa, of upwards of $650 million this year. And, early this year, Novartis spent $9.7 billion to buy The Medicines Company, which is developing a long-acting cholesterol lowering medicine.