Saphnelo (anifrolumab-fnia) is a prescription drug prescribed to treat moderate to severe systemic erythematosus lupus (SLE). Saphnelo’s cost may depend on factors such as whether you have health insurance and the pharmacy you use.

The price you pay for Saphnelo can vary. Saphnelo’s annual cost may depend on your treatment plan, your insurance coverage (if you have it), and the pharmacy you use. It will also depend on how much you have to pay for an office visit with your doctor to receive Saphnelo intravenous (IV) infusions. (These are injections into a vein given over time.)

To find out how much you’ll pay for Saphnelo, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about Saphnelo and cost.

What’s the cost of Saphnelo vs. Benlysta?

Saphnelo and Benlysta are injectable drugs prescribed to treat SLE.

Saphnelo comes as a liquid solution in single-use vials that your doctor will dilute and inject via IV infusion.

Benlysta comes as a liquid solution given as an injection under your skin via a prefilled syringe or auto-injector pen. It also comes as a powder that’s mixed with sterile water and given as an IV infusion.

The way in which each drug is given will affect its overall cost.

Another important cost consideration is the dosage of Saphnelo versus Benlysta.

Saphnelo is injected once every 4 weeks.

Doctors may prescribe Benlysta injections once per week. Or they may prescribe Benlysta IV infusions every 2 weeks for the first three doses and then every 4 weeks thereafter.

If you have more questions about how the costs of Saphnelo and Benlysta compare, talk with your doctor or insurance provider.

Is Saphnelo covered by Medicare?

It’s possible. To find out whether your Medicare plan covers the cost of Saphnelo, call your plan provider. There are many types of Medicare plans, and your cost and coverage depend on your particular plan’s benefits. Your final cost may also depend on the price to receive Saphnelo doses at a doctor’s office or clinic.

Keep in mind that your plan may have prior authorization requirements before it’ll cover Saphnelo. (See the “Prior authorization” section below for more information.)

You can also ask your doctor about the cost of Saphnelo if you have Medicare.

Saphnelo is a biologic drug, which means it’s made from parts of living organisms. It doesn’t come in a biosimilar form. Biosimilars are like generic drugs. Unlike generics, which are made for nonbiologic drugs, biosimilars are made for biologics.

Why is there such a cost difference between biologic drugs and biosimilar drugs?

Biologic drugs can be expensive because of the research and testing needed to ensure their safety and effectiveness. The manufacturer of a biologic drug can sell it exclusively for up to 12 years. When the biologic drug’s patent expires, other drugmakers can create biosimilar versions. This competition in the market may lead to lower costs for biosimilars. And because biosimilars are very similar to biologic drugs, they don’t need to be studied again. This can also lead to lower costs for biosimilars.

If you need help covering the cost of Saphnelo or understanding your insurance, check out these resources:

On these pages, you can find insurance information, details on drug assistance programs, and links to savings cards and other services.

If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

If you have insurance, you may need to get prior authorization before your insurance provider will cover Saphnelo. This means your insurer and your doctor will discuss Saphnelo in regard to your treatment. Then, the insurance company will determine whether the drug is covered. If Saphnelo requires prior authorization and you don’t receive it before you start treatment, you could pay the full cost of the drug.

Be sure to ask your insurance company whether Saphnelo requires prior authorization.

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.