|[May 02, 2014]
Sovaldi: Gilead Greed & Bungling Bureaucrats Equal $1,000 Pill, Says AHF
LOS ANGELES --(Business Wire)--
Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS
organization and a vocal critic of runaway drug pricing and drug
profiteering, repeated its criticism of Gilead
Sciences over the price of its new Hepatitis C medication,
Sovaldi (sofosbuvir), priced at $1,000 per pill by the Foster City, CA (News - Alert)
drug company. AHF also blasted government bureaucrats for not doing
enough to rein in drug pricing and patents in its negotiations with the
pharmaceutical industry. It's estimated that the government purchases
over 70% of drugs used in the United States today for use in programs
such as the V.A., Medicare, Medicaid and a number of combined
federal/state drug assistance programs. As such, AHF believes the
government should be far more aggressive in its dealing with the
industry in order to reduce the taxpayers' burden for the cost of drugs.
Who's to Blame for the $1,000 a Day Cure?", an April 16th
blog post on Knowledge@Wharton,
a respected business school blog, explores contributing factors to
Gilead's astronomical price of Sovaldi. In January, following FDA
approval of the drug, Gilead priced Sovaldi at $1,000 per pill-$84K for
a twelve-week course of treatment-1,100% more than Gilead's most
expensive AIDS drug, Stribild ($80 per-pill or $28,500 per-patient, per
year), it's four-in-one AIDS drug combination.
The Wharton post explores the traditional drug company framework that
Gilead operates in (although unlike in traditional drug company R&D,
Gilead did not develop Sovaldi, but instead bought-for $11
billion cash-another company, Pharmasset, that had researched and
developed the drug) and notes that, "…the blame for high drug prices
should be placed on the U.S. health care system instead."
In the Wharton post, Patricia Danzon, Wharton professor of health
care management, also noted, "In the U.S., we have established a
system of reimbursement for pharmaceuticals that unfortunately puts
absolutely no limits on the prices that companies can charge."
"Gilead continues its bet that the sky is the limit on drug pricing, a
move that had met little or no resistance from government officials
until Congressmen Henry Waxman and Fred Upton stepped up to challenge
Gilead on its pricing of Sovaldi," said Michael Weinstein,
President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "Gilead remains the poster
child for drug company abuse of the public trust and the public trough.
It's heartening to see some government officials finally taking serious
note-and taking action-on the runaway train that is drug pricing in the
Also in the Wharton piece, Mark V. Pauley, Wharton health care
management professor, noted, "If we don't want companies charging
high prices, or if someone thinks it's unethical, then Congress should
change the patent system."
"Taxpayers and government officials are finally realizing that enough is
enough: people and institutions are fighting back against Gilead and
other drug makers' greed," added AHF's Weinstein.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS
organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to more
than 300,000 individuals in 32 countries worldwide in the US, Africa,
Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To
learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org,
find us on Facebook (News - Alert): www.facebook.com/aidshealth
and follow us on Twitter (News - Alert): @aidshealthcare.
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