Latest HCV Treatment News

By Marcus Hopkins, Blogger

This year, Gilead Sciences – the maker of Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) – are releasing their latest HCV drug therapy, Harvoni (ledipasvir and sofosbuvir).

Harvoni received final FDA approval in 2014, and is starting to appear on several ADAP and Medicaid formularies in 2015. Unlike Sovaldi, which much be taken in conjunction with ribavirin, interferon, or simeprevir (Olysio, Jannsen), Harvoni is designed to be taken on its own, once a day.

The cost for twelve weeks of treatment with Harvoni averages at about $94,500; while still expensive (averaging $1,125 per pill), it can be argued that this is less expensive than the Sovaldi/Olysio combination therapy, which can run closer to $145,000 for the same length of treatment.

Though many ADAP and some Medicaid programs do not cover either Sovaldi, or Harvoni, there is another option in covering the cost of treatment. Gilead Sciences offers a Patient Assistance Program through their Support Path for Sovaldi and Harvoni website, or by contacting them directly at 1-855-769-7284 (hours of operation Monday through Friday between 9:00 am and 8:00 pm Eastern Time).

Also this year, AbbVie is releasing their new HCV drug combination therapy, Viekira Pak (ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir tablets; dasabuvir tablets).

Viekira Pak

Photo Credit: Life Beyond Hep C

Viekira Pak also received final FDA approval in 2014, and is designed to be used with or without ribavirin. The ombitasvir-paritaprevir-ritonavir component is a fixed-dose tablet, and the dasabuvir is a separate tablet, both of which are indicated for usage as a once daily two-tablet regimen.

The cost for twelve weeks of treatment with Viekira Pak averages at about $83,319, if used without a tertiary ribavirin component; with the third component, the cost range increases between roughly $700 – $1400 (for generic ribavirin).

In a press release from the National Alliance for State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) dated January 15, 2015, it was announced that AbbVie and the ADAP Crisis Task Force (Task Force) have reached a pricing a new pricing agreement for ADAP programs.

This makes AbbVie the first pharmaceutical company to offer a discount on the ADAP price of HCV medication, potentially saving state-run programs millions of dollars in the process.

While this agreement is welcome news, it is unclear, at this time, if this agreement will convince the various ADAP programs to add Viekira Pak to their formularies, as each state determines which drugs their programs will cover.

Did you miss our HIV/HCV Co-Infection Watch — January 30, 2015?
[Click Here to Download]

Disclaimer: HEAL Blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community Access National Network (CANN), but rather they provide a neutral platform whereby the author serves to promote open, honest discussion about Hepatitis-related issues and updates. Please note that the content of some of the HEAL Blogs might be graphic due to the nature of the issues being addressed in it.

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