Rebates Could Play Big Role in How Payers Approach New Postpartum Depression Drug

The FDA on Aug. 4 approved Zurzuvae (zuranolone) for the treatment of postpartum depression (PPD), making it the first oral pill available to treat a condition that affects an estimated 500,000 people annually. While that ostensibly would be good news for the drug’s manufacturers — Biogen Inc. and Sage Therapeutics, Inc. — Sage’s shares plummeted amid the FDA’s decision not to approve Zurzuvae for major depressive disorder, which affects a much larger patient population.

That setback, plus the FDA’s addition of a boxed warning that cautions patients not to drive or operate heavy machinery for at least 12 hours after taking Zurzuvae, led analysts to express significant concerns about the sales potential of the drug. Meanwhile, from a coverage standpoint, experts tell AIS Health, a division of MMIT, that rebates will play a significant role in whether payers choose to put the new drug on their formularies.

© 2024 MMIT
Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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