Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) is already being attacked for the unbelievable price tag for the next generation oral hepatitis C drug, which is expected to be released next month.
Currently, full treatment of the hepatitis C virus costs $95,000; a subscription that includes Sovaldi, ribavirin and interferon. The next generation drug to be released is said to be faster and more effective in the treatment of the virus and is the first all-oral treatment for the virus.
The executive vice president of Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD), Gregg Alton, didn’t specify how much the full treatment will cost, but said that the new treatment’s pricing will be based on the current pricing method.
“We are going to price this fixed-dose regimen based on those costs,” Alton said. “We do plan on launching a better product without having a significant premium.”
Many US authorities, insurers, and legislatures have made requests to Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) to provide more discounts to help cut down on costs of treating the more than 3 million hepatitis C patients. If no further discounts are provided by the company, the treatment cost will run into hundreds of billions of dollars, which might have a negative bearing on the general health budgeting.
Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) is expected to earn close to $12 billion in sales from the hepatitis C drug in 2014 alone. This is unheard of for any drug in its first year of entry into the market.
“The blank check mindset we’ve seen from Gilead is a threat to our entire health care system, and we hope they will pursue more sustainable pricing in the future,”
said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans.
The company has said that its new treatment will help cut cost for nearly half of patients who are in its current pricing scheme who were previously untreated but who are healthy. This is because they will be treated within 8 weeks instead of the current 12 weeks, meaning cutting the cost by one third.