Following FDA approval today of Harvoni, Gilead’s newest—and first all-oral—treatment for hepatitis C AHF and other drug pricing advocates, blasted the Bay Area drug maker for the $94,500 price for the drug, $125 above the $1,000 per pill Gilead currently charges for its current Sovaldi formulation, which must be prescribed and taken with ribavirin or interferon, older medications that must be injected.
“With Harvoni, Gilead may finally pop the balloon of unsustainable drug pricing with the public and payers with pricing like this. It leads the industry-wide practice of gouging cash-strapped government programs like Medicaid, Medicare and ADAPs as well as private insurers, as the price of Harvoni shows.
There is a breaking point coming on this, and Gilead is apparently none too proud to lead the way.”
Michael Weinstein, AHF President
WASHINGTON (October 10, 2014) On the heels of the FDA’s approval earlier today of a new formulation of hepatitis C drug treatment, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization and a vocal critic of runaway drug pricing and drug profiteering, today blasted Gilead Sciences over the pricing of its new drug formulation—and the first all-oral treatment—for Hepatitis C. The expensive new treatment, to be known as Harvoni, was approved for use by the FDA earlier today and shortly thereafter, Gilead announced that it would be priced at $94,500 for a twelve-week course of treatment.
The $94,500 price is well above the current $84,000, or $1,000 per pill, it charges for the current formulation of its drug Sovaldi, which is currently prescribed and taken with either ribavirin and interferon, older medications that must be injected. Taken together, the cost for that treatment approaches $100,000 for a twelve-week course.
“With Harvoni, Gilead may finally pop the balloon of unsustainable drug pricing with the public and payers with pricing like this. It leads the industry-wide practice of gouging cash-strapped government programs like Medicaid, Medicare and ADAPs as well as private insurers, as the $94,500 price of Harvoni shows.
There is a breaking point coming on this, and Gilead is apparently none too proud to lead the way,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Fully one-third of all hepatitis C patients in the US are incarcerated, meaning some government program picks up their health care tab. Gilead continues to price its drugs with no absolutely relation to actual R&D costs and expects—and so far has gotten—government programs and insurers to roll over. Well pushback on pricing thankfully ramped up with the $84,000 price of Sovaldi and will expand further with today’s pricing news on Harvoni.”
Over the summer AHF teamed with the National Coalition on Health Care and others on the ‘Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing’ to spotlight what the group characterizes as “unsustainable and abusive” prices for some medicines. The campaign, which first launched in May, “…aims to spark a national dialogue about the need to find market-based solutions to the problems caused by the onslaught of new high-priced prescription medicines.”
The Bay Area pharmaceutical company drew outrage—and Congressional scrutiny—by pricing its hepatitis C drug Sovaldi at $84,000 for a 12-week course of treatment—or $1,000 per pill. According to a July 14th news posting on the website FiercePharma, Pharmasset, the company that initially developed Sovaldi, and for which Gilead paid $11 billion in cash, had intended to price the drug at $36,000 for the twelve week course of hepatitis treatment—less than half of what Gilead ultimately priced the drug at after it purchased the smaller drug company.