Hepatitis C patients can now benefit from cheaper treatment costs, thanks to a deal between Express Scripts and drug producer AbbVie on Viekira Pak, the latest medication approved by FDA. The country’s biggest pharmaceutic insurer has dropped the cost of the recently approved hepatitis C treatment from AbbVie. In most cases, this will no longer cover the Gilead Sciences drugs, according to Express Scripts.
Express Scripts has been against the $84,000 retailing cost of Gilead Sciences’ Sovaldi medication since it received approval last year because the price was considered too high. A national discussion was spurred by the idea that a pill might cost consumers a dollar per day. Consequently, thus led to a wider debate about medications costs and pressured insurers to drop drugs price tags.
As a result, the recently approved Viekira Pak treatment from AbbVie has a significantly reduced price. The drug was approved on Friday by U.S. expert authorities. The information was made public during an interview by Steve Miller the Chief Medical Officer of Express Scripts.
The pricing understanding includes Express Scripts’ National Preferred Formulary, a list of accepted and secure medications that cover the 25 million Americans that are subscribed to its pharmacy insurance.
According to Miler, the agreement is first because usually, these kinds of specialty drugs are valued next to each other.
The amount paid by Express Scripts to retail the AbbVie drug was not made public. The treatment will be available in the Accredo specialty pharmacy. The price for a twelve week treatment is $83,319 but the drug is also available in a package fort a twenty four weeks treatment for several patients. Normally, drug producers markdown drugs by 10 to 20 percent in the U.S.
Steve Miller also pointed out that the price drop in AbbVie’s drug is a step towards narrowing the costs that Western European countries have negotiated for their consumers regarding Sovaldi. For instance, in France, the price is $51,373 while in Germany the drug costs $66,000.
The Abbvie treatment comprises four distinctive anti-viral medications. Three pills are to be ingested in the morning and one in the evening. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sanctioned the treatment only for patients displaying genotype 1 manifestation of the virus. This is the most frequent type of hepatitis C and the most problematic in terms of treatment.
As a result, Express Scripts announced that, beginning Jan. 1, 2015 it would cover the costs of the AbbVie drug only for patients who have genotype 1. Also, patients will be reimbursed for the cost of the drug by Express Scripts regardless if they are at an early or a late stage of the disease.
This implies that the one pill treatment- Harvoni, will no longer be covered by the insurer. Harvoni, also designed for genotype 1 is priced at $94,500 per a twelve weeks treatment package. However, Express Scripts agreed to cover Sovaldi in situations where patients have another type of hepatitis.
Image Source: Tech& Innovation Daily
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