KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Democratic Lawmakers Ask Hepatitis C Drugmaker To Justify Price

The developer, Gilead Sciences, sells each pill for $1,000.

The New York Times: Lawmakers Attack Cost of New Hepatitis Drug 
A new drug to treat hepatitis C that costs $1,000 a pill has caused rising concern among insurers and state Medicaid programs. It has now also spurred interest from Democratic congressmen whose queries about the drug prompted a sell-off in biotechnology stocks on Friday. Three Democratic members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have demanded that Gilead Sciences, the developer, justify the price of its drug, which is called Sovaldi (Pollack, 3/21).

Los Angeles Times: Gilead Sciences' $84,000 Price For Hepatitis Drug Is Scrutinized 
Medical experts say previous therapies for hepatitis C helped only about half of patients ... clinical trials of Sovaldi have shown cure rates approaching 90% with far fewer complications. The lawmakers noted those potential benefits for patients, but they said the expensive medication could impose substantial costs on taxpayer-funded Medicaid programs and lead to premium increases for those with employer or individual health coverage (Terhune, 3/21).

Earlier, related KHN story: There's a Life-Saving Hepatitis C Drug. But You May Not Be Able To Afford It (Appleby, 3/3).

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