Abbvie’s leukemia drug to get insurance benefits

Shim Hyun-tai  Published 2020.03.25  16:24  Updated 2020.03.25 16:24


AbbVie said Wednesday that the Ministry of Health and Welfare has approved its chronic lymphocytic leukemia treatment, Venclexta (Ingredient: venetoclax), to receive insurance benefits as a tertiary treatment from April 1.

The beneficiaries are patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia who recur or fail to respond to chemotherapy and B cell receptor pathway inhibitor.

AbbVie’s chronic lymphocytic leukemia treatment Venclexta (Ingredient: venetoclax) tablets

Vencelxta, Korea’s first and only B-cell lymphoma-2 inhibitor (BCL-2), is a new type of treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, which selectively binds to BCL-2 to prevent the proliferation of cancer cells.

The government approved the drug as a monotherapy for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia tertiary or higher.

With the application of the insurance benefit, the drug price for each Venclexta tablet 10, 50, and 100 milligrams was set to 4,469 won ($3.6), 22,341 won, and 44,682 won. Patients can receive treatment with Venclexa by administering 400 milligrams daily for a month at the cost of 268,000 won.

“Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a rare blood disease that is hard to cure and continues to recur. The survival rate drops significantly if the patients fail to receive appropriate treatment in time,” Severance Hospital Professor Kim Jin-seok said. He added that these types of diseases require effective and diverse follow-up treatments.

Venclexta won the regulator’s nod last year and has provided new treatment options for patients who have relapsed or failed to recover from existing treatments.

“The insurance benefit applied to Vencelxta helped chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients receive treatment and eased their financial burden,” Professor Kim said. “I expect the new benefit will offer a better and longer life for the patients.”

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