Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) Gets Tough Options From Express Scripts

by Fiona Gabriel | Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014 | 1568 views

Boston, MA, 04/09/2014  (usastockreport) – Pressure is mounting from Express Scripts Holding Co. (ESRX) over Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) to lower down its hepatitis C pill Sovaldi’s price, which is currently priced $84,000.

Resisting Hefty Prices

Express Scripts, which manages over 1 billion prescriptions in a year is planning to ask its clients, consisting of health insurance, national employers and government agencies to join a coalition in order to stop using Gilead’s Sovaldi once the FDA approves a rival medicine, anticipated to come next year. Express had said in December that it may not reimburse the hepatitis C pill once the new ones replace them in the market. The total cost of treatment of Sovaldi is $1000 per pill if a regular course is followed, which includes one pill every day for 12 weeks, gives a snapshot of how the specialty drugs have been overly priced?

According to industry analysts, Sovaldi would fetch Gilead revenue of $10 billion in 2014. If every hepatitis C infected person is treated with the pill then the total cost would stand more than $300 billion, which is more than what the U.S. spends on all prescription drugs at present. Gilead’s Sovalid received approval from the FDA last year and held the success of highest cure rates and less side effects, but its high cost is not taken well by insurers, public-health advocates and pharmacy benefit managers.

Hint To Other Hepatitis Pill Makers

Gilead has already been under scrutiny from the U.S. lawmakers, who have raised questions over the pricing of its pill. The high price of the drug is keeping a majority of state-run Medicaid programs to make it available to its members who have been infected by the virus. Therefore, pharmacy benefit managers like Express Scripts is taking a strong step forward to indicate Gilead whether they want a long term market through  reasonable pricing or market that can disappear instantly if a new drug is approved. Moreover, Express’s resistance also hints other pill makers to a keep a limit on their prices in the future.

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