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Stories Stories Business $1,000 pill now hepatitis C treatment of choice

$1,000 pill now hepatitis C treatment of choice

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Written by Aldine      July 29, 2014    
 
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A $1,000-per-pill drug that insurers are reluctant to pay for has quickly become the treatment of choice for a liver-wasting viral disease that affects more than 3 million Americans.

In less than six months, prescriptions for Sovaldi have eclipsed all other hepatitis C pills combined, according to new data from IMS Health. The prospect of a real cure, with fewer nasty side effects, is enticing thousands of patients to get treated for the first time.

But clinical and commercial successes have triggered scrutiny for the drug's manufacturer, California-based Gilead Sciences Inc., which just reported second-quarter profits of $3.66 billion, a net margin of 56 percent.

Two senior senators are raising questions about documents that suggest the initial developers of Sovaldi

Two senior senators are raising questions about documents that suggest the initial developers of Sovaldi considered pricing treatment at less than half as much. The health insurance industry is publicly scolding Gilead, and state Medicaid programs are pushing back.

The repercussions for patients could go beyond one drug and one disease.

A number of promising cancer medications near approval could provide the next storm over costs. The average cost of brand-name cancer drugs has doubled in a decade, to about $10,000 a month.

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Epicentre
Washington
USA

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Author
RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR
Contributor's Comment
A $1,000-per-pill drug that insurers are reluctant to pay for has quickly become the treatment of choice for a liver-wasting viral disease that affects more than 3 million Americans.
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