Janssen Korea said Tuesday that it got the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s approval to receive insurance coverage for Imbruvica (ibrutinib), for patients who have reoccurring or hard-to-treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (rrCLL).
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a type of bone marrow cancer that makes too much of a kind of white blood cell, most commonly the B cell. A total of 946 Koreans were treated for the cancer in 2015 with the majority being men in their 60s.
“The reimbursement of Imbruvica in Korea demonstrates Janssen’s commitment to providing patients with innovative treatment options,” said Jenny Zheng, director of Janssen Korea.
Each pill will cost 58,555 won ($54.7) with reimbursement, which translates into roughly 5.2 million won ($4,876) a month for the patient, according to a Janssen Korea official.
Imbruvica is a once-daily oral medication that gained the ministry’s approval in August 2016 to treat the condition in patients who have failed treatment with one other therapy.
It earlier gained approval in 2014 to treat patients with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma (rrMCL), a subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and reimbursement for it in June 2016.
The therapy was co-developed by Cilag GmbH International, a member of the Janssen group, and Pharmacyclics LLC, an Abbvie spinoff.