The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) praised a decision by Express
Scripts Holding Co. on Monday to drop a higher priced Hepatitis C
treatment in favor of AbbVie Inc.’s cheaper Viekira Pak treatment
“The decision by Express Scripts to choose the Viekira Pak over Sovaldi
demonstrates the limits of big pharma’s greed and arrogance,” Michael
Weinstein, president of AHF, said. “Gilead wrongly believed they could
get away with charging through the roof for Sovaldi and now their
strategy has clearly backfired. With private insurers and taxpayers
footing the bill for most of these life-saving treatments, it is now
incumbent that the government and other companies follow suit in
standing up to these attempts at public extortion.”
“AbbVie’s price is only slightly less outrageous but it might serve as a
warning to other companies that market competition combined with public
revulsion can restrain prices even when the government refuses to act,”
Gilead Sciences may perhaps, in the finish, be forced to supply a
lower price tag for its $94,500 hepatitis C drug. The biotechnology firm
could have no choice but to negotiate its personal discounts with CVS
Wellness and other drug advantage managers, say…
The biotechnology firm could have no choice but to negotiate its
personal discounts with CVS Wellness and other drug advantage managers,
say analysts, after rival drugmaker AbbVie announced the deal Monday to
block Gilead’s pill Harvoni from a list of medicines covered by Express
Scripts Holding Co.
Express Scripts manages pharmacy positive
aspects for about 85 million individuals in the U.S., although CVS had
about 26 % of the pharmacy advantages marketplace in the U.S. final
year, behind Express Scripts, according to the U.S. Division of Labor.
Gilead truly want to be blocked from half of the U.S. population?” John
Kreger, an analyst at William Blair & Co., said in a phone
interview Monday. “They would be the most motivated to reduce a deal
The largest U.S. pharmacy benefit manager has lined up a cheaper price from AbbVie Inc (ABBV) on its newly approved hepatitis C treatment and, in most cases, will no longer cover Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD) treatments, Express Scripts said on Monday.
Shares in Gilead dropped 11 percent or about $12 in Monday morning
trading to $96.23. A Gilead spokeswoman did not comment when asked about
the potential impact on the company but said the company has been
negotiating with Express Scripts.
Express Scripts has opposed the $84,000 pricetag of Gilead Sciences’
Sovaldi treatment since it was approved a year ago, saying that was
unaffordable. The $1,000-a-day pill opened a national debate about drug
prices and increased insurer pressure on drug makers to cut prices.
Hepatitis C treatment no longer
means daily injections and low cure rates that characterized the
disease in the past. Now, newer oral drugs on the market require only a
12-week course, but their prices are shocking. Gilead Sciences has two
drugs for hepatitis C, both costing astronomical amounts: one drug,
Harvoni, costs $95,500 for 12 weeks, and the other, Sovaldi, costs
$84,000. That’s $1,000 per pill.
But for the 3.2 million Americans
living with chronic hepatitis C, a liver disease primarily spread via
the blood of an infected person, a new business deal may mean more
Another drug called Viekira
Pak, developed by the pharmaceutical company AbbVie, got the green light
from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday, Dec. 19. But many
were disappointed upon discovering that the drug would cost $83,319 for
a 12-week course, only slightly less than Sovaldi. The medical
community had hoped that market competition would drive prices much,
a sign that price competition may take hold for hepatitis C drugs, the
nation’s largest manager of prescriptions will require all patients to
use AbbVie’s newly approved treatment rather than two widely used medicines from its rival Gilead Sciences.
The pharmacy benefit manager, Express Scripts,
said it had negotiated a significant discount from AbbVie in exchange
for making the drugmaker’s treatment, Viekira Pak, the exclusive option
for 25 million people. Express Scripts also said it would allow all
people with hepatitis C to be treated with AbbVie’s drug, not only those
with more serious liver damage.
really believe we want all patients treated,” Dr. Steve Miller, the
chief medical officer of Express Scripts, said in an interview Sunday.
He said that AbbVie had made that affordable by offering “a significant
The pharmacy benefits manager ($ESRX)–which has made its feelings well known when it comes to the high cost of Gilead’s ($GILD) next-gen hepatitis C drugs–says it may quickly change its preferred drug formulary to favor an anticipated challenger from the Illinois company ($ABBV), Reuters reports, provided it’s clinically equivalent–and less expensive, of course.
On a Wednesday conference call with analysts, CEO Steve Miller echoed
comments he’s made time and again since the
$84,000-per-treatment-course Sovaldi–which broke the record for fastest drug launch ever and now makes up half the biotech’s brand-new $94,500 combo regimen, Harvoni–rolled out. “The cost of it is unsustainable for many of our plans,” he said, as quoted by the news service.
While Express Scripts has been pinning its hopes on eventual
competitors–earlier this year, it began assembling a coalition to
exclude Sovaldi until lower-cost rivals hit the market, forcing prices
down–there’s no guarantee AbbVie or others will undercut Gilead’s
trailblazers. A spokeswoman for the North Chicago company told Reuters no price has been disclosed for the investigational drug, which AbbVie hopes can win approval and launch before year’s end.