Express Scripts to offer low-cost option to Daraprim

Express Scripts is partnering with Imprimis Pharmaceuticals to provide access to a low-cost alternative to Daraprim (pyrimethamine). Here's why.

Express Scripts is partnering with Imprimis Pharmaceuticals to provide access to a low-cost alternative to Turning Pharmaceutical’s $750 Daraprim (pyrimethamine), a drug for the treatment of toxoplasmosis that has been recently priced out of reach for people with HIV, pregnant women and others with weakened immune systems.

While the 62-year-old Daraprim was priced $13.50 per pill earlier this year, its owner, Turing Pharmaceuticals, made the decision in September to increase the price to $750 per pill.

Imprimis is offering a compounded oral formulation of pyrimethamine and leucovorin (a form of folic acid) for $1 per capsule for people whose pharmacy benefit is managed by Express Scripts. The companies expect that prescriptions for the pyrimethamine and leucovorin from Imprimis will be processed starting as early as this week for Express Scripts patients who need the treatment.

“Through this partnership, we believe we now have an extremely cost-effective way to provide access to a Daraprim alternative,” Express Scripts spokesperson Jennifer Luddy tells Managed Healthcare Executive. “We will share our solution with other payers to make sure all appropriate patients around the country have access to the treatment they need at the lowest possible price.”

Luddy says Express Scripts believes that leveraging its expertise to improve access and affordability to an important medication is the “right thing to do for HIV patients and others who could benefit from a combination of pyrimethamine and leucovorin.

“Our goal is always to put medicine within reach by making it more affordable and accessible,” she says. “By partnering with like-minded partners at Imprimis, the Infectious Disease Society of America [IDSA] and the HIV Medicine Association [HIVMA] who are passionate about patient care and access, we believe we can make great progress in delivering better health outcomes to people who suffer from toxoplasmosis.”

By working with organizations such as IDSA and HIVMA, Express Scripts will help educate physicians on the value of prescribing this low-cost alternative to Daraprim.

“Physicians will be able to send a patient-specific prescription for the combination formulation of pyrimethamine and leucovorin to Imprimis, which is now a part of the Express Scripts pharmacy network,” Luddy says. “Imprimis will compound the two drugs together into an alternative for patients.”

This specific solution is the first of its kind, and it was predicated on several factors that are unique to the Daraprim situation, according to Luddy.

“The medication is simple to produce, its ingredients are very inexpensive, the condition it treats is very rare, and the current price of Daraprim is unconscionably high,” she says. “This kind of solution only makes sense for situations that share all four of these characteristics.”