Insurers Panic Over $1K-a-Day Wonder Drug
Congress demands to know why Sovaldi is so expensive
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Apr 4, 2014 8:30 AM CDT
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – The FDA only approved Sovaldi in December, but the hepatitis C treatment is already setting records, with as much as $10 billion in sales expected in the first year alone. And why not? It has few side effects, cures 90% of patients, and, oh yeah, costs $1,000 a day. That price tag is causing turmoil throughout the health care system, CBS reports. Doctors can't resist prescribing it, but several insurers might see a more than 10% drop in earnings because of it, one analyst tells the Wall Street Journal. There are an estimated 3.2 million hepatitis C sufferers in the US, and if all those eligible for Sovaldi took it, the price could be as much as $27 billion, one investment bank calculated, according to Forbes.

A lot of that burden would fall on taxpayers, because hepatitis C patients are often veterans, prisoners, uninsured, or on Medicaid. Several Democratic Congressmen recently sent a letter demanding that Sovaldi's maker, Gilead, explain the price tag—especially given that it costs 99% less in hepatitis-ridden Egypt; Congress has no power to alter the price, however. Gilead says its prices ($84,000 for a full course of treatment in the US) key off a country's per-capita income, and argues that it's still a good deal long-term, because it cures patients in 12 weeks. UPI points out that some hepatitis C sufferers ultimately require a liver transplant, which costs upward of $175,000.

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Showing 3 of 129 comments
RAD45
Apr 8, 2014 6:28 PM CDT
Actually, one should be asking the value question of the GOP House members who are determined to overturn ACA, cut Medicare and Medicaid costs, and return the public to the past where health insurance companies charge what they wish.. and then decide after you're sick whether they'll honor your insurance contract. And, yes, Gilead Pharma is goughing America because they can! And our Congress isn't doing anything about it.
Lou Bernardo
Apr 6, 2014 8:33 PM CDT
The Pharmaceuticals charge what they please, no control at all. They claim R&D but they are just thieves and since the government (taxpayers) are paying for prescriptions now anything goes. Even the long in existence over the counter snake oil has been jacked up 1000% or more. Aspirin for example is now $8.50 where it was $2.00, even petroleum jelly now sells for what prescriptions once cost, and so do various other items.
John
Apr 5, 2014 8:26 PM CDT
"Congress demands to know why Sovaldi is so expensive" -------------------------------------- For the same reason why you Congreasemen get paid with benefits second to none, retire with full pay and receive the finest health care personally given to you by Obama and paid for by the taxpayer. That's why....you scumbag criminals!!