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AHF: Insurers Say Gilead's Sovaldi Pricing "…Not Sustainable"
[May 21, 2014]

AHF: Insurers Say Gilead's Sovaldi Pricing "…Not Sustainable"

LOS ANGELES --(Business Wire)--

A May 20 blog post by leading insurance trade group American Health Insurance Plans spotlights the pricey Hepatitis C medication Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) - a Gilead Sciences product approved for treatment of the virus last December - as the primary example of pharmaceutical companies gouging drug prices to unsustainable levels that cause detriment to patients and pharmacy benefits managers.

"Sovaldi has shown tremendous results, and it's the kind of medical innovation we need to sustain. Unfortunately, the drug's maker - taking advantage of a lack of competition - has priced it at an astronomical level that is not sustainable for consumers, innovation, or society," the blog post reads.

The post underscores repeated statements made by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization and a vocal critic of runaway drug pricing and drug profiteering. AHF has hosted protests over Sovaldi's price point in New York and San Francisco, and this month ran an advocacy ad in the Wall Street Journal. The ad - which ran on May 7th, the day of Gilead's Annual General Meeting in Millbrae, CA (News - Alert) - read:

More than 3 million Americans have Hepatitis C. Gilead Sciences' Sovaldi is the latest attempt to gouge every last cent out of our health care system no matter the consequences on public health. Our State and Federal leaders are breaking the bank by paying whatever Gilead and its pharma allies demand without question.

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"Gilead has attained the highest profit margins in the S&P 500 based on corporate welfare from public payers for its drugs," said Michael Weinstein, AHF President. "Gilead has proven time and again that it is shameless when it comes to profiteering off the lives of patients with HIV and Hep C. The status quo of skyrocketing drug prices will not change if payers and patient do not take a stand."

The AHIP blog goes on to illuminate the fact that, when taken in combination with other necessary medications and courses of treatment for Hepatitis C, Sovaldi's price tag (News - Alert) drives the full treatment cost over $150,000 per patient, "crushing consumers, taxpayers, and government budgets across the country." It then quotes the March 4 Bloomberg (News - Alert) News article 'Hepatitis C Drug Price Limiting State Medicaid Approvals': "If everyone in the U.S. with hepatitis C were treated with Sovaldi at its list price, it would cost $227 billion compared with the estimated $260 billion spent a year in the country for all drugs."

About AIDS Healthcare Foundation

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to nearly 300,000 individuals in 32 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe.

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