February 16th, 2015

The Drug That Is Bankrupting America

Economics & Politics

Global Health

America is the land of breakthrough science — and health care scams. The two seem to go hand in hand in the case of the new hepatitis C virus (HCV) cure named sofosbuvir, sold under the brand name Solvadi by the drug company Gilead Sciences. There is no question that Solvadi is a godsend — a lifesaver for millions of Americans, and perhaps someday for hundreds of millions of people around the world infected by Hepatitis C. Yet Solvadi is also the poster child of a U.S. health care system that is being bankrupted by greed, lobbying and indefensible policies on drug pricing.

The basic facts are these. In December 2013, the Food and Drug Administration approved Solvadi, and another formulation, Harvoni, which is sofosbuvir used in combination with another drug. Gilead set the price for a 12-week treatment course of Solvadi at $84,000, amounting to $1,000 per pill. Gilead set the price of Harvoni at $94,000.

According to researchers at Liverpool University, the actual production costs of Solvadi for the 12-week course is in the range $68-$136. Indeed, generic sofosbuvir is currently being marketed in India at $300 per treatment course, after India refused to grant Gilead a patent for the Indian market. In other words, the U.S. price-cost markup is roughly 1,000-to-1!

Read the full article at the Huffington Post

 

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