ICER emerged as a thorn in pharma's side in 2015 after it scored a $5.2 million grant from the Arnold Foundation.

For almost a decade, ICER existed quietly analyzing the cost effectiveness of various medical tests, treatments and procedures. However, this changed in 2015 when the organization received a $5.2 million grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and began what it calls the “Emerging Therapy Assessment and Pricing Program,” a systematic program to develop “value-based price benchmarks” for recently approved drugs. 

Of 72 treatments assessed since ICER started its cost-effectiveness review program, the group has supported pricing on just 21, according to @BernsteinPWM in July.

Since then, ICER has published reports endorsing pricing on two out of seven drugs, for a total of 23 endorsements in 79 reviews. The Bernstein's analysis shows that over the years, ICER has evaluated drugs in more than two dozen diseases, including 14 drugs for multiple sclerosis alone.

Drugs that failed to secure ICER endorsements are some of the industry's most high-profile products, including Vertex Pharmaceuticals' cystic fibrosis treatments, J&J's new high-powered antidepressant Spravato and Novo Nordisk's next-gen insulin Tresiba.