Developing countries will soon receive cheaper hepatitis C drugs; thanks to a deal Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) signed with Indian companies to develop generic versions of the drug. The deal allows the companies to make sofusbivir, which is sold under the name Sovaldi, and sell it in 91 specified countries.
The drug costs $1,000 a pill in the U.S.
In an announcement made on Monday by Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD), the generic drugs will target more than 100 million hepatitis C patients who are in the specified countries. In the U.S., there are more than 3 million hepatitis C patients.
“Our view is that the competition and the capabilities of our partners will bring down the price for both the Indian system and for health-care systems around the world,”
said Gregg Alton, Gilead’s head of corporate and medical affairs.
Surprisingly, as hepatitis C patients from across the globe received the good news, investors weren’t amused a bit. Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) stock went down 2% to $101.62. According to market analysts, the fall in the stock isn’t because of the planned price reduction for developing countries, but a general trend witnessed within the entire sector.
“Gilead isn’t worse than the group. All the large cap biotechs are getting whacked on a risk-off day,”
said Matthew Roden of UBS.
To get complete 3 months regimens of Sovaldi in the U.S., a patients have to part with $84,000, which translates to nearly $1,000 a day. It’s however reported that the same drug will sell in India for $300 for a month’s supply. Comparing the two prices shows that patients in India will be paying about 1% of what patients in the U.S are currently paying. Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) further revealed that the companies authorized to make the generic drugs will be free to set their individual prices for the drugs.
The price for U.S. patients will not come down though. Douglas Dieterich, professor of medicine says that the cost for those living in the U.S., while high, is way lower than the total cost paid by patients on older and less effectual regimens. Such patients pay close to $189,000.
This article has been written by Victor Ochieng.