Friday, January 16, 2015

Aetna backs Gilead's hepatitis C treatment and gets discount

Aetna backs Gilead's hepatitis C treatment and gets discount

Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:34pm EST Jan 16 

(Reuters) - Aetna Inc, the third-largest U.S. health insurer, said it has negotiated a discount with Gilead Sciences Inc for its hepatitis C treatment and will offer it as the preferred choice to its nearly 20 million commercial customers.

Aetna, which posted an updated coverage policy on its website on Friday, said in a statement that it believes its price is "competitive with other recently announced agreements for this class of therapy."

Aetna and other insurers have pushed back against the high price of hepatitis C treatments and other drugs, questioning their affordability after Gilead's first drug, Sovaldi, was priced at $84,000 per treatment, or roughly $1,000 per pill, in late 2013.

The agreement followed a clinical review of other FDA-approved therapies for hepatitis C, which includes the late December approval of AbbVie Inc.'s competing treatment. Since that approval, AbbVie and Gilead have given discounts to their list prices of 30 percent or more, according to analysts.

Aetna declined to comment on the size of the discount. The company said it is not updating its 2015 financial guidance at this time.

The agreement follows similar announcements by pharmacy benefit managers Express Scripts Inc and CVS Health .

(Reporting by Caroline Humer; Editing by Alan Crosby)

Also See:
TGIF - Review of this weeks top hepatitis C headlines

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