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AHF: Anti-Gilead Drug Pricing Campaign Picks Up Steam

  AHF: Anti-Gilead Drug Pricing Campaign Picks Up Steam

   Bloomberg reports that pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts, which
   handles drug reimbursement for a big chunk of the U.S. private insurance
    market, says it's forming a coalition to refuse to use Sovaldi after a
competitor hits the market. $84,000 drug is simply too expensive for payers to
                         bear, Express Scripts says.

   At $1,000 a pill, industry sources say Sovaldi’s price suggests a retail
                  markup of 279,000% over production costs.

Business Wire

WASHINGTON -- April 14, 2014

A movement opposing runaway drug pricing, particularly Gilead Sciences’
pricing of its new Hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi (sofosbuvir), which it priced at
$84,000 for a twelve-week course of treatment—or $1,000 per pill—picked up
steam last week with the news that Express Scripts, a pharmacy benefits
manager which handles drug reimbursement for a big chunk of the U.S. private
insurance market, says it's forming a coalition to refuse to use Sovaldi after
a competitor hits the market. According to Bloomberg News (as reported on the
FiercePharma.com website), “The $84,000 drug is simply too expensive for
payers to bear, Express Scripts CMO Steven Miller told the news service.”

"What they have done with this particular drug will break the country," Miller
said (as quoted byBloomberg). "It will make pharmacy benefits no longer
sustainable. Companies just aren't going to be able to handle paying for this
drug."

In mid-March, Public outcry and numerous news reports about the high price of
the new drug led Congressmembers Henry A. Waxman (D, CA), Frank Pallone, Jr.
(D, NJ), and Diana DeGette (D, CO), Ranking Members of the House Committee on
Energy and Commerce, to write to Gilead CEO John Martin “…requesting a
briefing from Gilead Sciences to answer important questions about the pricing
of the company’s recently approved Hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi.”

In January, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) President Michael Weinstein sent
a series of letters to state Medicaid directors asking them to block Sovaldi
(sofosbuvir) from inclusion on their respective state Medicaid and other drug
formularies. The drug was approved by the F.D.A. on December 6, 2013 and
Gilead immediately announced that it would price the drug at $84,000 for a
twelve-week course of treatment, making it one of the most expensive drugs
ever marketed. Suggested treatment guidelines also require that Sovaldi be
used with another drug, ribavirin (a nucleoside inhibitor), further adding to
the cost of the prohibitively expensive course of treatment.

“An anti-Gilead drug pricing campaign is clearly gaining momentum and picking
up steam with both government and business officials showing considerable
interest in Gilead’s pricing of Sovaldi,” said Michael Weinstein, President of
AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “At $1,000 a pill, pharmacy industry sources say
the price of Sovaldi suggests a retail markup of 279,000% over production
costs—which is outrageous—and as Mr. Miller says, is simply too expensive for
payers to bear.”

About AIDS Healthcare Foundation

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization,
currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 300,000
individuals in 32 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin
America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more
about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook:
www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare.

Contact:

Ged Kenslea
Communications Director
AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Los Angeles, CA, USA
+1.323.791.5526 [mobile]
+1.323.308.1833 [work]
gedk@aidshealth.org
or
Tim Boyd
Director of Domestic Policy
AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Washington, DC, USA
+1.213.590.7375 [mobile]
timothy.boyd@aidshealth.org
 
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