KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Senate Finance Committee Probing Prices For Hepatitis C Drug

Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, send letter to the drug's maker requesting information about how it set the price, which runs about $84,000 for a standard three-month regimen.

The Wall Street Journal: Senate Committee Is Investigating Pricing Of Hepatitis C Drug
The U.S. Senate Finance Committee launched an investigation into Gilead Sciences Inc.'s high pricing of the hepatitis C drug Sovaldi, adding its voice to a chorus of criticism accompanying the highest-grossing drug launch in history. Sen. Charles Grassley, a longtime industry watchdog and member of the committee, and the panel's chairman, Sen. Ron Wyden, sent a letter to Gilead Chief Executive John Martin on Friday announcing the probe and requesting a wide range of documents on how the Foster City, Calif., company decided on the price. Sovaldi costs about $1,000 a pill, or about $84,000 for a patient on a standard, 12-week regimen (Loftus, 7/11).

Los Angeles Times: U.S. Senators Ask Gilead Sciences To Explain High Cost Of Hepatitis C Drug
Pharmasset, the drug's original developer, priced the treatment at $36,000, the senators wrote, citing documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Gilead acquired Pharmasset in 2012 for $11 billion. Sovaldi sales could hit around $8 billion this year, analysts estimated, which would make it one of the top-selling pharmaceutical drugs worldwide (Khouri, 7/11).

Reuters:  U.S. Senators Ask Gilead To Explain Cost Of Sovaldi Hepatitis Drug
Two members of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, including Chairman Ron Wyden, on Friday asked Gilead Sciences Inc to defend the more than $80,000 cost of its breakthrough treatment for hepatitis C, citing the expense to federal healthcare programs. Sovaldi's cost can soar to $168,000 in patients that need longer treatment periods, not including the costs of other drugs used with it, the senators said (Pierson, 7/11).

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