Spotlight Series on Hepatitis C


U.S. Activists Called on Gilead to Set a Per-Treatment Price for Sofosbuvir/Ledipasvir

December 1, 2014

In a press release on 13th October 2014, the Fair Pricing Coalition, a US treatment activist organisation, called for Gilead to set a single uniform per-cure price for the coformulation of sofosbuvir and ledipasvir (brand name Harvoni) irrespective or whether 8, 12, or 24 weeks of treatment is required.

"The FPC, a coalition of HIV and viral hepatitis treatment activists, recognises the significant advance in treatment success and convenience of Harvoni, but is disappointed at the Wholesale Acquisition Cost (WAC) of $1,125 per once-daily tablet, or $63,000, $94,500, and $189,000 for an 8-, 12-, and 24-week course of treatment, respectively."

"The FPC maintains that these costs, particularly for the 12- and 24- week courses of treatment, are exorbitant. Since they are now published, however, FPC concludes that the WAC of $63,000 for eight weeks of Harvoni, which is projected to be the most common duration of treatment as more people living with genotype 1 hepatitis C learn of their infection and seek care, should be made the uniform cost per cure, regardless of the length of therapy."


Fair Pricing Coalition. Fair Pricing Coalition welcomes approval of Gilead Sciences' combination tablet for hepatitis C, urges a uniform price for curative treatment. (13 October 2014).

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Reader Comments:

Comment by: Seer Clearly (Denver, CO) Thu., Jan. 8, 2015 at 3:57 pm UTC
I think this is the wrong approach for a life-saving drug. Pricing should be related to two things: 1) a reasonable return on investment for Gilead ("unlimited" is not reasonable), and 2) a cost-of-goods-sold based calculation of pricing (which prevents the approach listed here.) I recently had a conversation with a doctor who reminded me that the cost of Harvoni treatment is approximately the same as treating other life-threatening diseases such as breast cancer. However, cancer treatment has a much higher COGS since there is so much labor involved: in the case of Hep C, the COGS is at most a few dollars per pill (or per day.) In addition, drugs manufacturers are prevented from discussing price with providers in the USA so there is no quantity discounting in the USA, even though if a government were to be buying the drug, quantity discounting could be discussed (this is why drugs cost less in other countries with single payer systems.) We need to lift the restriction on pricing discussions here and focus on what it was originally designed to prevent, which is kickbacks and anticompetitive actions: the result would be that insurers could get better pricing on the drug to pass along to consumers - and avoid the threat of bankruptcy from the millions of Hep C patients in their systems.

In the meantime, people are needlessly suffering or dying of Hep C. It's inexcusable. And our GOP-led government is hardly going to bit the big pharma hand that feeds them to solve it. We have to vote the out in the next election.
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