By Michael Teich
Twelve percent of the U.S. population may suffer from chronic migraines, but many Americans don't appreciate the impact, said president of Lilly Bio-Medicines Christi Shaw.
"These patients need to be treated seriously. This is a neurological disorder," Shaw said Friday in an interview on Cheddar.
Eli Lilly ($LLY) just received clearance from the FDA for its latest drug, and it could change the lives of the 39 million Americans suffering from migraines, according to Shaw.
The treatment, Emgality, is a monthly, self-administered injection that will help patients cut the frequency of their migraines in half, she said.
Shaw said that many Americans conflate headaches and migraines, and so they often dismiss their pain. They key difference is that the symptoms of a migraine disrupt one's ability to function optimally through the day. That doesn't happen with a more commonplace headache. And a stigma contributes to the glaring statistic that only about 10 percent of those suffering from migraines take prescription drugs for prevention, Shaw said.
Emgality comes with a serious price tag: $6,900 a year, or $575 a month. But Eli Lilly is offering commercially insured patients up to 12 months of the drug for free. It's among the latest efforts from the industry to offer consumers some relief from surging drug costs.
Competitors Amgen ($AMGN) and Teva ($TEVA) have already unveiled new migraine treatment drugs.
For full interview click here.