Democratic Members Raise Concern on Increased Prices of Hepatitis Drug, Sovaldi
Some concerns on the high prices of hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi, have been raised by democratic members of the Congress. Henry Waxman of California, Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey and Diana DeGette of Colorado have issued a letter to the makers of the drug, Gilead Sciences.
The main issue addressed in the letter is that a good quality treatment is of no use if a person cannot afford the treatment. The pharmaceutical company defended the claims by saying that they have set the fairest price for their drug, Sovaldi, which the company could offer.
Gregg Alton, company’s executive vice president for corporate and medical affairs, said that the company is planning to meet congress members in order to settle the issue. The company added that the drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2013 and has the capability to cure 80% of hepatitis C in just 12 weeks with least side-effects.
But, the Congress members claimed that the 12-week treatment with Sovaldi can cost too much for most of the patients as at $1000 a pill, it comes out very expensive. About three to four million people suffer from hepatitis C every year in America, which could get worse, causing cirrhosis and liver cancer when untreated.
It has been reported that there are no rules in US that allows Medicare or Medicaid to negotiate price, but the negotiation can take place in Europe which is 25% to 50% less at the moment.
Dr. Steve Miller, chief medical officer for Express Scripts, said: “You have a drug that has the potential to break a lot of the payers”.
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