New Heart Failure Drug Approved by FDA

From the WebMD Archives

April 16, 2015 -- A new heart failure drug has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Amgen's Corlanor (ivabradine) is the first new heart failure drug in a dozen years. Another heart failure pill from Novartis is being approved by the FDA and could be approved this summer, the Associated Press reported.

In studies funded by the drug makers, both new drugs significantly reduced hospitalizations and deaths from heart failure.

The new drugs work differently and target slightly different groups of patients, according to Dr. Mary Norine Walsh, a vice president at the American College of Cardiology vice president and head of heart failure treatment and cardiac transplantation at St. Vincent Heart Center in Indianapolis, the AP reported.

"The No. 1 thing is going to be how expensive" the drugs are and whether insurers set high co-pays -- if they even cover them," Walsh said. "When we say to a patient that we'll replace your medicine that you can get for $4 (as a generic), nonmedical decision-making will come into play."

Corlanor's list price will be $375 a month, without insurance, according to Amgen. Novartis has not set a price for its new heart failure drug, the AP reported.