U.S. Senators Ask Gilead To Explain Solvaldi Pricing

By RTT News, 
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(RTTNews.com) - The U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden and senior Finance Committee member Chuck Grassley on Friday requested Gilead Sciences Inc. ( GILD ) to provide detailed pricing information on new Hepatitis C virus drug Sovaldi.

The drug has been hailed as breakthrough treatment for the 3.2 million Americans infected with Hepatitis C virus.

"Given the impact Sovaldi's cost will have on Medicare, Medicaid and other federal spending, we need a better understanding of how your company arrived at the price for this drug," the lawmakers wrote. "In order for a marketplace to function properly, it must be competitive, fair, and transparent. It is unclear how Gilead set the price for Sovaldi. That price appears to be higher than expected given the costs of development and production and the steep discounts offered in other countries. An efficient market needs informed consumers to keep costs down."

Wyden and Grassley said that while Sovaldi has the potential to help people with Hepatitis C virus, at $1,000 per pill, its pricing raises "serious questions about the extent to which the market for this drug is operating efficiently and rationally."

Sovaldi's price has been widely reported to be $84,000 for a standard treatment, but documentation from the Food and Drug Administration shows costs could be much higher for patients needing longer treatments, the Senators noted.

The longer treatment regimen roughly doubles the cost-per-patient-per-treatment to $168,000 for Sovaldi alone, and does not include the costs of other drugs used in combination treatments. And, HCV patients with liver cancer could require even longer and more costly treatments, they claimed.

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