[Healthcare Payer News] Sovaldi spurs call to action on high drug costs

By Anthony Brino
May 21, 2014


The breakthrough hepatitis drug Sovaldi has sparked a vigorous debate about the financial sustainability of U.S. healthcare and the role of government in regulating prices. “The Sovaldi example has brought us to a crossroads,” said Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, during a conference hosted by The Atlantic. “We’re having the kind of conversation we need to have.” The biggest problem with Sovaldi, Ignagni said, is “the company in this case is asking for a blank check. You can’t give anybody a blank check in healthcare anymore.” Spending by private and government payers on the roughly $80,000-per-course Sovaldi threatens “to blow up” the budgets of state and federal budgets, families and health plans, she said. Ignagni called for a new model of drug benefits that she describes as “coverage with evidence,” where prices drugs would be reduced if “the evidence isn’t meeting the promise.”


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