Express Scripts Holding Company (NASDAQ:ESRX) desire to accord Hepatitis C patients with what it believes to be the best of care has seen it ink a discounted deal with AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV) for its Viekira Pak treatment. The agreement according to CNBC’s, Meg Tirrell, cuts Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) drugs that were on sale by the U.S largest pharmacy.
Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD)’s Sovaldi has been at the center of controversy since being approved last year over what was believed to be overpricing. The drug goes on sale for $84,000 for a 12-week treatment, which has allowed the company to generate $8 billion worth in sales in the first three-quarters of the year.
“Payers have been pushing back against this and now Express Scripts Holding Company (NASDAQ:ESRX) is saying there is this new drug that just got approved on Friday from AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV). They’ve cut a significant discount to Express Scripts in order to get exclusive billing on the formulary,” said Mrs. Tirrell.
Patients with Genotype 1 will now be able to get the AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV) drug having been made available on Express Scripts National Preferred Formulary that covers about 25 million Americans. Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) and Johnson and Johnson drug Olysio will consequently be excluded from the formulary starting January 1. Patients who had already begun their treatment before the date will continue to be issued with the suspended drugs.
Industry players have in the recent months been complaining that Gilead and JNJ were overcharging patients taking into consideration the amount of revenue that has been generated over the past three-quarters. The move by Express Scripts to suspend the drugs may also affect the development of other drugs for therapeutic purposes based on the fact that companies will start questioning whether they will be reimbursed for the hard work.
The fact that Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) drug has a good track record of curing Hepatitis C has removed some of the pressure on its pricing when compared to other available options that are expensive. Express Scripts Holding Company (NASDAQ:ESRX) has not issued details of the amount of discounts that it will be offering for the AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV) drug that is to be sold through its Accredo specialty pharmacy.
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