A new report suggests while the list prices of the most commonly used drugs for hepatitis C vary across industrialized countries, net prices negotiated by various organizations and governments reflect a similarity in actual cost.
“According to this comparison, conventional wisdom has underestimated the ability of large, sophisticated, private-sector payers to reduce costs and improve access to high cost drugs,” Mark Merritt, president and CEO, Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) said in a press release.
PCMA retained the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics to study prescription costs for Sovaldi (sofosbuvir, Gilead Sciences) and Harvoni (sofosbuvir/ledipasvir, Gilead Sciences) across seven major industrialized countries — the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Japan, France and Italy. Researchers gathered list prices from public sources and net prices from media reports, governments, payers and drug manufacturers. Foreign currencies were converted to the U.S. dollar.
The researchers also calculated HCV infection and treatment rates as one pill per day for 12 weeks. Some patients with HCV receive longer and shorter dosages, but researchers said data were not adjusted to reflect this.
- most countries set specific price levels while other countries base prices on how much the drugs are used;
- Japan and Spain have relatively higher treatment rates, while Italy has one of the lowest treatment rate, highest infection rate and lowest average net cost;
- sofosbuvir and sofosbuvir/ledipasvir list prices were discounted an average of 45% to 55% in the United States; in the other countries, discounts ranged from 15% to 20%;
- net U.S. price per round of sofosbuvir/ledipasvir — $50,400 — was lower than the average European price and that seen in Japan ($52,279 and $55,517, respectively); and
- at $44,520, the net price for sofosbuvir in the United States is below the average European price of $45,055.
“HCV treatment costs are substantial and represent a dramatic shift in the allocation of health care resources in a short period of time since the newest generation products were introduced in late 2013,” according to the report. “With current treatment rates, even at discounted prices, significant costs — and budgetary impact — from HCV treatments can be expected to continue for some time.” – by Janel Miller
Reference: IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. Comparison of hepatitis C treatment costs: Estimates of net prices and usage in the U.S. and other major markets. http://www.imshealth.com/en/thought-leadership/ims-institute/reports. Published Sept. 20, 2016. Accessed Sept. 27, 2016.
Disclosure: Merritt is employed by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association.