Gilead says payers feel comfortable with the cost of Sovaldi
"As soon as Gilead Sciences named a price for its highly anticipated hep C drug Sovaldi, activists pounced--and payers showed some nervousness about laying out cash for another high-dollar treatment. Not to worry, Chief Operating Officer John Milligan says. Payers understand the big picture.
"When you talk to them about the long-term benefits, they recognize they're not going to have to worry as much about liver transplants and other care they're going to have to give," Milligan told Bloomberg. A new liver costs about $300,000 in the U.S., and that's before factoring in the price of drugs to make a transplant work. "For most of these plans, the risk/benefit seems to be positive, based on our conversations."
The FDA approved Sovaldi late last year for treating hepatitis C and just days ago the company submitted an application for a combo pill that, if approved, is expected to provide an interferon-free cure for many of the patients who are infected with the serious condition. It put a price of $84,000 for 12 weeks of treatment, and analysts suggest it could generate sales of $4 billion just this year, Bloomberg reports. Activists lamented the price, but Bloomberg said that it also has pharmacy benefit managers looking for new tactics to control drug spending, like not covering all new drugs in a new generation of treatments or even bringing in outside experts to review the data, just as cost-effectiveness watchdogs in other countries do."