No one disagrees about the advantages the new Hepatitis C drug Sofosbuvir has to offer. Being the first all-oral treatment for such a tough disease with such a high cure rate, Sovaldi drug by Gilead containing Sofosbuvir will not have such a tough time on the market. Or will it? Sofosbuvir cost is soaring through the root with $1000 per pill.
Sofosbuvir cost was being quoted both by the media and the producer Gilead Sciences to be as $84,000 for 12 week regime and $168,000 for 24 week regime. We are talking about $1000 price tag for a single Sofosbuvir pill. The price of treatment is considerably higher than the price of previous interferon based treatment. However, dr. Terrault, MD, who is a liver expert said that “It's not just a matter of cost per pill. The cost per cure is what you want to see.” Here he put out the fact that because Sofosbuvir therapy is so much more efficient and safe, adding to being very easily deliver via oral administration and that can be used with many different chronic Hepatitis C genotypes, the Sofosbuvir cost is very well justified.
Here is the list of Sovaldi cost in different countries:
|Country||Price per 12 week treatment||Commentary|
|USA||$84,000||USA has the highest price in the world|
|Canada||$55,000||35% lower price than in USA|
|UK||£35,000 / $55,000||Readily available|
|Germany||€60,000 / $75,000||Readily available|
|France||€56,000 / $70,000||Readily available|
|Brazil||$7000*||*Government opted negotiation price|
|India||$900*||*Promised by Gilead Sciences; Sovaldi's producer|
|Egypt||$900 (with insurance)|
$6,000 (without insurance)
|Currently lowest available price in the world|
On the other hand, when we talk about Hepatitis C we are talking about deadly disease that can hardly be treatable. The treatments that are available – namely the interferon treatment – is very ineffective and with tough side effects when compared to Sofosbuvir treatment. And then there is Sofosbuvir – a medicine that provides a cure to a deadly disease with little side effects – for $84,000 per treatment. The question about how this can be justified is being raised more and more frequently.
Sofosbuvir cost is not the only case of very expensive medicines. For example some of the biological medicines for cancer treatment have even higher prices. This is justified by the pharmaceutical companies in the following way – they have to cover the cost of development and marketing alike, and all these is mere 5-10 years before the patient for that drugs is lost and generics come in, pushing the prices down. The development costs about $1 billion as a rule of thumb. However, the story of how Sofosbuvir come in the market is somewhat different. Gilead didn't only spend $1 billion for the development of Sovaldi, they bought the company that started developing Sofosbuvir Pharmasset for $11 billion mainly because they wanted to get their hand on Sofosbuvir. Sofosbuvir cost, in turn, is the reflection of how much money Gilead put in to deliver the drug to the market. As a result the price is very high.