- Sprout Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s Addyi, a pill aimed at boosting women's sex drive, is slated to hit the market this year after overcoming FDA rejection in 2010 and 2013.
- Although concerns remain about the safety and efficacy of the drug, there is public pressure for insurers to provide parity with their coverage for male sexual-dysfunction drugs, which Sprout says 70% of men with insurance are covered.
- Anthem has stated that it will cover Addyi in many cases, while other insurers and drug benefits managers (including Cigna, Aetna, Express Scripts, and CVS) are still evaluating their plans, reports the Indianapolis Business Journal.
Despite the pressure, insurers will need to focus on the safety and effectiveness of Addyi, also known as flibanserin.
Sprout notes that only some women will benefit from the pill and risks include drops in blood pressure and fainting, both of which are increased by alcohol consumption.
“I think it’s a mistake for any third-party payer to pay for a medication that doesn’t come with a reasonably solid evidence of value,” David Juurlink, a physician and professor at the University of Toronto who studies drug safety, told the Indianapolis Business Journal. “The data for flibanserin make it very clear that the majority of women who take it are not going to experience any meaningful benefit.”
Even with coverage, however, it may be a challenge for patients to obtain the drug. Physicians will be required by the FDA to complete an online training program to be authorized to prescribe it, and patients will be required to sign a form acknowleging the risks.