Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Expensive Tafamidis Has PEU Ties


New York-based Pfizer's medication, also known as tafamidis, treats a rare heart condition known as transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy that can lead to progressive heart failure. An estimated 100,000 to 150,000 Americans, mostly elderly, have the condition.

Sales of the treatment totaled $2.02 billion in 2021. A February 2020 study found tafamidis to be the most expensive cardiovascular drug launched in the United States.

Given the drug's high price, patients would need to bear yearly co-payments of roughly $13,000, with Medicare covering the rest. Pfizer's proposal sought to assist "middle-income" patients who do not qualify for low-income co-pay support but might still be deterred by its cost.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General in 2020 concluded that the proposal could violate the kickback law by inducing patients to buy Pfizer's drug while leaving taxpayers to bear the costs.

Former investors in the firm that developed tafamidis include: 

Novo Ventures, Morgenthaler Ventures, Healthcare Ventures, Fidelity Biosciences, TPG Biotechnology, Alta Partners, and Novartis Venture Funds.

Blackstone formed Tafamidis Holdings LLC in February 2019 after the drug had unexpected success.

A Canadian pension fund reported a Q3 2022 credit investment:

Acquired tiered royalties on Tafamidis from Tafamidis Holdings, LLC, a Blackstone Life Science's portfolio company, for up to US$221 million in upfront proceeds and performance-based milestones. Tafamidis, sold under brand names Vyndaqel and Vyndamax, is a pharmaceutical agent that is used for the treatment of specific conditions in adults to reduce cardiovascular mortality and cardiovascular-related hospitalization.

I imagine the public would prioritize affordable medications over private equity underwriter (PEU) profits.  That's not the case with healthcare policy makers and elected officials.  The greed and leverage boys count on Uncle Sam's wallet for predictable, grand returns.

Politicians Red and Blue love PEU and increasingly, more are one.  It should be informative that walking, talking fraud Rep. George Santos is a digital PEU.