Are Drugs Priced in Accordance With Value? A Comparison of Value-Based and Net Prices Using Institute for Clinical and Economic Review Reports [Editor's Choice]



The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) is an independent organization that reviews drugs and devices with a focus on emerging agents. As part of their evaluation, ICER estimates value-based prices (VBP) at $50 000 to $150 000 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained thresholds. We compared actual estimated net prices to ICER-estimated VBPs.


We reviewed ICER final evidence reports from November 2007 to October 2020. List prices were combined with average discounts obtained from SSR Health to estimate net prices. If a drug had been evaluated more than once for the same indication, only the more recent VBP was included.


A total of 34 ICER reports provided unique VBPs for 102 drugs. The net price of 81% of drugs exceeded the $100 000 per QALY VBP and 71% exceeded the $150 000 per QALY VBP. The median change in net price needed to reach the $150 000 per QALY VBP was a 36% reduction. The median decrease in net price needed was highest for drugs targeting rare inherited disorders (n = 15; 62%) and lowest for cardiometabolic disorders (n = 6; 162% price increase). The reduction in net prices needed to reach ICER-estimated VBPs was higher for drugs evaluated for the first approved indication, rare diseases, less competitive markets, and if the drug approval occurred before the ICER report became available.


Net prices are often above VBPs estimated by ICER. Although gaining awareness among decision makers, the long-term impact of ICER evaluations on pricing and access to new drugs continues to evolve.


Lisa M. Bloudek Victor Nguyen Jens Grueger Sean D. Sullivan

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