By German Lopez
Apr. 11, 2014
Once again, US drug prices are coming under the scrutiny of industry and consumer groups. The April 9 release of a trove of Medicare data showed some doctors charging millions to the public health-care program. Doctors claimed these charges largely covered the cost of expensive drugs administered to patients — costs Medicare has little control over. In December, Gilead Sciences released Sovaldi, a breakthrough hepatitis C drug that costs $84,000 over 12 weeks (one pill per day, at $1000 each). In response, pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts threatened to stop buying the drug once equally effective competitors arrive in the market in 2015, and some state Medicaid agencies now refuse to cover the drug. Steve Miller, chief medical officer of Express Scripts, acknowledges that Sovaldi, with a 90 percent cure rate, is truly the best hepatitis C treatment on the market right now.