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Express Scripts to pressure Gilead on Sovaldi pricing

April 9, 2014 12:22 AM UTC

Express Scripts Holding Co. (NASDAQ:ESRX) said it will ask plan sponsors to "stand side-by-side" with the pharmacy benefit manager to encourage Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) to provide HCV drug Sovaldi sofosbuvir at a "more reasonable price." Express Scripts said it is not aiming to remove Sovaldi from its formulary or to restrict access to the drug, but said there "needs to be a reasonable price point, even for innovative therapies." The PBM also cautioned that it expects HCV therapies to become more competitive over the next few years and said it may be "clinically appropriate" to "exclude unreasonably priced medications from our formulary if more affordable options deliver the same or better results." Express Scripts didn't disclose what it would consider a reasonable price for Sovaldi.

Express Scripts said the "case of Sovaldi is unprecedented," noting that "there has never been a drug priced this high for a patient population this large." The wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) for a 12-week course of Sovaldi is $84,000. Although PBMs and payers are so far covering Sovaldi, several told BioCentury they are looking forward to new HCV drugs expected to hit the market in the next 18 months in the hope that competition will help them negotiate lower prices (see BioCentury, March 24). ...