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Amevive via IV for $2,000 a Visit!
from Charlene B.

Ed:  My husband has received his first IV injection of Amevive, the cost was outrageous.  It was told to us by a Biogen employee that the cost of the 12 week therapy would range from $7,000-10,000.  Well when my husband returned for his 2nd injection the cost was going to be the same: $2,000 per injection.  Therefore the total cost more than doubled. 

Yes, we do have insurance, but still have to pay 10% after our $500 deductible, this is not including the doctor visits, IV supplies, and weekly lab work. What is everyone else paying for their treatment?  I just don't understand how they can charge so much after Biogen telling us this price range.  Am I missing something here?  I would appreciate someone to respond.  Thanks, -Charlene B

*****

Ed’s Response:  If you haven’t already, Charlene, call the Amevive support line at 1-866-AMEVIVE and share your concerns there.  The $2,000 per week (which means “per injection”) you’re being quoted is the highest I’ve heard (I’ve heard from $1,000-$1,500 prior to this news) and it does sound outrageous.

For those who don’t know, a course of Amevive is given by intramuscular injection or IV, in a doctor’s office, weekly for 12 weeks.  The cost quoted to Charlene and her husband by Biogen — around $10,000 — would price the weekly or per-injection cost at $833.33.   It sounds like this individual may have been quoting a price-to-the-physician for IM administration, not IV (i.e., wholesale for the least expensive delivery mode). 

I’m sure participating dermatologists are allowed to tack on their service charges in accordance with their policies and their market.  I’d expect to pay more in NYC than in Lexington, Kentucky (for example).  There may also be a difference between IV and intramuscular injection procedures that effects price.  (Charlene:  Have you or your husband asked your derm about intramuscular injection versus IV?)  Lab work usually is a separate charge (at least that’s been my experience), but if a doctor adds a separate line item for “office visit,” and the price for the Amevive administration is considerably over $1,000 by itself, I’d say they’re pulling a fast one. 

If my doctor charges over $1,500 per week during the 12 week course, I am going to call the Amevive hotline and ask about other derms in my area.  I’ll call around and do some price shopping. 

The thing is, Amevive administration may be somewhat novel in the dermatology trade, but it’s not rocket science.  The derms deserve to be compensated for their time and overhead, but turning this treatment into a “windfall for the practice” is out of order. -Ed

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