HCV Treatments: “Sticker Shock” or “Low Value”

Two more commentaries/articles on hepatitis C virus treatments help with the perspective of cost.

In the first (Hepatology 2014; 59: 1246-49), the authors note that costs with HCV treatment have escalated along with improvements in SVR rates.  And, though the new 12-week therapy costs will exceed $84,000, they point out that current total cost of “therapy to achieve SVR…including management of complications, the price of treatment actually increases to $172,889 to $188,859 per SVR.”  They also note that HIV therapy averages $2000-$5000 a month and due to lifelong need, this exceeds more than one-half million dollars in treatment cost.  In addition, they note that gents like interferon have side effects that can be life-threatening. “Still, it remains unanswered if the new [HCV] agents are worth their price.”

In the second from GI Hep News, Panel calls new hepatitis C drug ‘low value.

Here is an excerpt:

A panel of California medical experts says two new, once-daily drugs for hepatitis C represent low-value treatment alternatives for the condition because of their high price tags.

The drugs, Gilead Sciences’ sofosbuvir (Sovaldi) and Johnson & Johnson’s simeprevir (Olysio), cost more than $1,000 per pill, pushing the price for the recommended 12-week course of treatment of sofosbuvir to close to $90,000 and treatment with simeprevir to around $66,000, according to the California Technology Assessment Forum (CTAF), an independent group originally convened by the insurance industry to evaluate costs and benefits of treatments….

Replacing current care with sofosbuvir-based regimens would increase drug expenditures by $18-$29 billion per year in California alone, the report estimated. Gilead Sciences has maintained that the drug’s up-front costs are justified given that it could decrease the number of patients who ultimately suffer liver failure and need transplants. However, CTAF said it would take 20 years for payers to recoup two-thirds of the drug’s cost.

Take-home message: The newest and best HCV treatments are costly.  These drugs may really boost medical tourism where these drugs will be sold a lot more cheaply.

Related blog posts:



3 thoughts on “HCV Treatments: “Sticker Shock” or “Low Value”

  1. Pingback: Understanding the Costs and Benefits of HCV Treatment | gutsandgrowth

  2. Pingback: Telaprevir-Based HCV Therapy is Expensive Too | gutsandgrowth

  3. Pingback: An “Ally” For Hepatitis C Genotype 3 | gutsandgrowth

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