Prescription CBD Epilepsy Treatment to Cost $32,500 a Year

Epidolex is the first cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD)-based drug approved by the FDA and specifically treats Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

An article written by Peter Loftus, published on August 8, 2018 in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), identifies the annual cost for GW Pharmaceuticals’ new cannabis-derived drug, Epidolex. Epidolex is the first cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD)-based drug approved by the FDA and specifically treats Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, rare forms of epilepsy, in patients 2 years of age and older. The annual cost for Epidolex is $32,500 per patient, which is aligned with other name brand epilepsy drugs that treat rare forms of the condition.

Epidolex is considered an orphan drug, meaning that it treats rare conditions, contributing to its higher price. Chief Executive, Justin Gover, described their pricing model as wanting “to make sure we were pricing Epidiolex in such a way where the means to access this medication would be consistent with branded epilepsy drugs these patients already use.” The drug may be available to uninsured patients for free, if they qualify. Patients with private insurance plans may pay up to $200 a month and it would cost about $5 to $10 a month for those who are qualify for in-state Medicaid programs.

Epidiolex performed very well for many children during the clinical phase. Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome patients are looking forward to this new option as current prescription medications are not very effective. Epidolex is being sold through specialty pharmacies that ship directly to patients and caregivers.

The full WSJ article discussed above can be located here.