A lifesaving prostate cancer drug, enzalutamide, brand name Xtandi, costs $189,800 a year in the United States, or up to five times more than its price in other countries.
More than 250,000 new cases of prostate cancer will have been diagnosed in the U.S. over the next 12 months and more than 33,000 men will have died in that time.
Discovered by scientists Charles Sawyer and Michael Jung at the University of California, Los Angeles with grants from the NIH and the U.S. Department of Defense, enzalutamide was approved in 2012 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of late-stage prostate cancer. Two companies—Japan-based Astellas and Medivation Inc., a San Francisco biotech firm—developed Xtandi. When Pfizer paid $14 billion to acquire Medivation in 2016, the pharma giant's then-CEO, Ian Read, said that "the value of Xtandi and its future growth potential was the principal driver" of the deal.
Astellas controls the price of Xtandi and has raised its cost by nearly 90% since 2014. The drug has already generated more than $10 billion in sales from Medicare alone.