[NCHC] New York Joins List of States Outraged Over Sovaldi

Jun 30, 2014

Costs to New Yorkers for One Drug Is 4 Times Entire Higher Education Spending

A recent article in Capital New York  highlights the dilemma posed by Gilead’s new Hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi.  While an important new therapy for patients the drug has been priced in such a way that it threatens to undermine the public programs who care for many of the patients who need the drug.

Sovaldi alone runs $84,000 for a 12-week dose, but combined with other medications that are often co-prescribed the cost often tops $150,000 per course of therapy.

The pharmaceutical lobby has argued vigorously that any price is justified for a drug that offers a meaningful improvement over previous therapies.   However, such an irresponsible approach to pricing is unsustainable.  Drugs for rare diseases have often had high prices because the R&D costs had to be amortized over a small population.  Public and private payers have recognized that distinction.  However, Sovaldi is a drug for millions of Americans (and hundreds of millions worldwide) priced like it is for a rare disorder.  The result of this pricing abuse is a strain on the health care system that is putting New York and other states in a tough spot.

The Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing created the attached infographic highlighting the outrageous costs of treating Hepatitis C for New Yorkers.

According to our calculations, the cost of treating Hepatitis C for New Yorkers in Medicaid alone could cost:

  • 40 times more than the annual state budget for public safety
  • 4 times more than the annual state budget for higher education
  • 3 times more than the annual state budget for transportation

The Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing is a project of the National Coalition on Health Care, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving our health care system and keeping it affordable. The Coalition is the nation’s oldest and broadest health care stakeholder organization, with over 80 organizations, representing purchasers, providers, and consumers. Together they represent over 100 million Americans. Led by John Rother, the President and CEO of the National Coalition, the Campaign’s goal is to foster a national dialogue on the pricing of new high cost drug therapies, some of which are now priced at $1,000 per dose and higher causing an increasing number of treatments to cost as much as $100,000 or more.

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