Thursday, October 30, 2014

Express Scripts Says AbbVie (ABBV)'s Drug Could Displace Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD)'s Sovaldi On Formulary

Express Scripts Says AbbVie (ABBV)'s Drug Could Displace Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD)'s Sovaldi On Formulary

By Riley McDermid, Breaking News Staff 

The price war between dueling hepatitis C drugs added another skirmish Thursday, after pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts Holding Co said it will likely change its standard formula to a new, cheaper unnamed AbbVie (ABBV) product instead of choosing Gilead Science (GILD)’s pricey Harvoni or Sovaldi treatments. "The cost of [Sovaldi] is unsustainable for many of our plans," Steve Miller, chief medical officer of Express Scripts, told analysts late Wednesday. The company is the largest U.S. pharmacy benefit manager and also runs large mail order pharmacies. AbbVie is hoping to have its new treatment approved by American drug regulators later this year.

Express Scripts pointed out that many public health programs like Medicaid and state prison systems currently foot the bill for the $94,500 price tag of Sovaldi, which has a cure rate of around 90 percent. Because the poor and incarcerated are more likely to suffer from the debilitating liver disease, that high cost can affect them disproportionately, said Miller. 

"(We) are hoping [AbbVie will] take a different approach when it comes to pricing," Miller said.

In addition, AbbVie’s new product is also considered more convenient, because it combines three drugs into a single, once-a-day pill. In contrast, Sovaldi and Harvoni sometimes have multiple stages of treatment, and cost $94,500 and $84,000 per course—or around $1,000 per pill.

Chicago-based AbbVie’s new pill would also not need to be combined with the sometimes-toxic drug interferon.

Express Scripts spokesman Brian Henry told Reuters that the Gilead drugs could be removed entirely from its formulary if the AbbVie drug can be shown to be as effective at treating hepatitis C.
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1 comment:

  1. So sad our lives our at the mercies of DRUG companies..We are just a number and dollar sign to them