The main reason for the high cost of blood clot medicines is the cost of research and development, according to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. The estimated cost of bringing a single new drug to market in the United States was $2,558 million in 2014.
After developing a drug and bringing it to market in the United States, a pharmaceutical company has exclusivity, or the right to sell the drug without competition from companies who make a generic equivalent, for a minimum of five to seven years. This gives the company the opportunity to recoup some of the cost of research and development by preventing other drug companies from selling the drug more cheaply, explains the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The blood clot medicines dabigatran, rivaroxaban and apixaban were approved in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively, says Auburn Community Hospital. Thus, their manufacturers have exclusive rights to market the drugs through at least 2015. As long as no generic equivalent is available, the cost remains high.
By contrast, the blood clot medicine warfarin was developed in 1954, explains Auburn Community Hospital. It is widely available in generic form today; thus the cost to the patient is relatively low. However, some research indicates that the overall cost of taking the newer medicines is about the same as that of warfarin because patients do not need routine blood tests, says MedPage Today.