ICER's Gaze Turns to COVID Vaccine, Treatment Prices

The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) is jumping into the fray of putting a price on what the world is waiting for — a safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine.

It published a white paper yesterday titled "Alternative Policies for Pricing Novel Vaccines and Drug Therapies for COVID-19" (treatment is mentioned but the focus is on vaccines).

Later this month and in early August, the Boston-based cost-effectiveness group is hosting a three-part online colloquium on the same topic. Peter Bach, Steve Miller, David Mitchell, and Aaron Kesselheim are scheduled to participate.

The white paper, written by Steven Pearson, ICER president, and Sarah Emond, the group's executive vice president, outlines six possible approaches to pricing a vaccine: unrestricted (which the white paper says is the status quo), cost-recovery, value-based, monetary prizes, compulsory licensing, and advanced market commitments.

Price has already entered the picture for antiviral treatments of COVID-19. Earlier this week, Gilead priced a five-day course of its antiviral, remdesivir, at $3,120 for patients with private insurance. Based on several assumptions, including a mortality benefit, an ICER report had benchmarked the price at $4,580-$5,080, although if remdesivir is used with dexamethasone, the ICER said benchmark should be dropped to $2,520-$2,800. In a prepared after Gilead announced the price, ICER said it wa a responsibe decision and "a promising sign for pricing decisions of other treatments for COVID-19 on the horizon.