CVS covers migraine drugs from Teva and Lilly, excludes Amgen’s rival

US pharmacy benefits manager CVS Health Corp has added new migraine drugs from Teva and Eli Lilly to its list of covered drugs but excluded a rival from Amgen, according to a press report.

Reuters reported that CVS added Teva’s Ajovy (fremanezumab) to its roster of drugs, along with Eli Lilly’s Emgality (galcanezumab).

But Amgen’s Aimovig (erenumab) will not be covered, Reuters reported late last week, citing a CVS spokesperson.

Inclusion on pharmacy benefit managers and health insurers’ lists of preferred drugs is seen as important for sales of new drugs.

Teva’s Ajovy had previously been excluded from a list of drugs covered by rival pharmacy benefit firm Express Scripts, but Reuters reported that this situation has changed.

It may now appear on some lists but likely with a higher out-of-pocket cost, Express Scripts said.

Meanwhile Teva’s Ajovy and Lilly’s Emgality will be available to members who have tried and failed on other preventive migraine treatments.

The decision follows backing from the cost-effectiveness review body, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER).

ICER is an independent research organisation that reviews the clinical and economic value of drugs.

Reuters said that the CVS spokesperson did not give a reason for excluding Aimovig, which was developed by Amgen and Novartis.

All three drugs come from the calcitonin gene related peptide (CGRP) class of drugs and are expected to generate blockbuster-level sales due to the lack of already approved treatments for migraine.

An Amgen spokesperson told Reuters it was disappointed by CVS’ decision and would work to get it on coverage lists.

Alder BioPharmaceuticals, a small pharma based in Washington State, is also working on a CGRP drug – but eptinezumab will have to be injected in clinics, instead of by patients.

Analysts think it is unlikely to be as popular as its rivals despite some strong phase III results.

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