Cost Of Sovaldi And Other Specialty Drugs Worries States, Pharmaceutical Executives @Liber8 @Gilead
News outlets continue to examine how Solvadi - usually an expensive cure for hepatitis-C - might affect budgets.
The Wall Street Journal: Lucrative Drug Niche Sparks Legal Scramble
The pharmaceutical industry's battle for dominance in the fast-growing and lucrative market for treatments of hepatitis C is prompting an unprecedented legal scramble. The prospect that hepatitis-C drug sales could soar to $20 billion annually by the end of the decade is spurring attempts by drug companies to assert the patent rights they'll need to grab a piece of the pie (Loftus, 7/20).
Politico Pro: Report: Look At Overall Impact, Not Pill Price, Of Costly Drugs
Debate over the costly new drug treatment for hepatitis C is focused on the $1,000 a pill price tag, but the real issue is the total impact on the health care system and how to systematically deal with it, CVS officials write in a commentary published Sunday. Gilead’s Sovaldi “is not really a per-unit cost outlier, but is a ‘total cost’ outlier because of its high cost combined with a very large population eligible for treatment — and a beacon for costs of specialty medications generally,” CVS Chief Medical Officer Troyen Brennan and Chief Scientific Officer William Shrank argue in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The total cost of treatment — about $84,000 just for the course of Sovaldi — is high. When multiplied by the estimated 3 million Americans who have the disease, the potential magnitude comes into focus: $250 billion (Norman, 7/20).
" With broader screening, the pool of eligible patients may be as high as 3 million in the United States alone.7 The simple math is that treatment of patients with HCV could add $200 to $300 per year to every insured American’s health insurance premium for each of the next 5 years. Thus sofosbuvir is not really a per-unit cost outlier but is a “total cost” outlier because of its high cost and very large population eligible for treatment "
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Hepatitis Drug Would Cost Missouri $1 Billion, Says Express Scripts
A new hepatitis C drug could cripple state budgets, costing the country $55 billion to treat 750,000 people with government insurance, according to an analysis by Express Scripts. Missouri would need to pay out $1 billion and Illinois $2.3 billion to treat all of the states' residents with hepatitis C who are either in prison or receive Medicaid benefits. The drug, Sovaldi, costs $1,000 per pill or $84,000 for a 12-week regimen. The drug's researchers at St. Louis University say the drug can eliminate the virus in up to 95 percent of patients (Bernhard, 7/18).
The Boston Globe: Specialty Drugs Save, Transform Lives — But At A Cost
Every year, Cora Higson fills out a sheaf of forms and waits several long, anxious days to learn whether a charity will pay for the drug she needs to breathe. The medication — Tracleer — is so essential, Higson says, that she is supposed to call her doctor immediately if she misses a dose. But her share of the cost is a whopping $1,111.47 per month. ... A quarter of the 40,000 Massachusetts residents who sought help last year from the National Patient Advocate Foundation said their biggest problem was affording the out-of-pocket cost of pharmaceuticals (Freyer, 7/21).
Hepatitis C Spurs Unusual Patent Wars Among Big Drug Makers
... but there is another intriguing aspect to this classic pharmaceutical horse race – a series of lawsuits filed over patents. Specifically, Gilead Sciences, which was first out of the gate with the expensive and successful Sovaldi treatment, is fighting no fewer than three other drug makers in court – Merck, AbbVie and Roche – over valuable patent rights.
... AbbVie has taken a particularly aggressive stance by obtaining U.S. patents covering combinations of dozens of drugs to treat the disease, including those developed by Gilead, because it is developing its own combination treatment. And so, AbbVie wants monetary damages if Gilead begins selling a combination treatment.As for Merck, Gilead filed a preemptive lawsuit after receiving a phone call from a Merck executive who proposed licensing two Merck patents to Gilead in exchange for a 10% royalty on sales of all medicines including Sovaldi. Gilead called this a “prohibitive demand.” Merck later responded in court by claiming that Sovaldi infringes on its patents that cover compounds related to the active ingredient in Sovaldi.
Roche, meanwhile, claims it has rights to Sovaldi thanks to a decade-old research collaboration with Pharmasset, which developed the drug and was purchased by Gilead two years ago for more than $11 billion. Roche wants an exclusive license and claims Gilead infringed on its rights.
SOVALDI COSTS $67 PER CURE (84 PILLS) TO MAKE.
The Republican Healthcare Plan
is the same as the Nazi Healthcare Plan for Old Jews...
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