February 11, 2014

Does Gilead Sciences Inc (NASDAQ:GILD) Prioritize Money Over Human Health?

Provided by Wall Street PR

Posted on Feb 10 2014 - 10:12am by Nicholas Maithya

Boston, MA 02/10/2014 (wallstreetpr) – Gilead Sciences Inc (NASDAQ:GILD) has made a name in the area of providing treatment solutions for people living with Hepatitis C. However, in the eyes of some people, GILD is benefiting a great deal by selling treatment for people suffering from Hepatitis C, at huge rates that shows the company is only interested in nothing more than profits. This debate has been ignited by the belief that the latest Hepatitis C drugs to leave GILD’s laboratories are priced too high and beyond the ability of many people who need it but cannot afford the new rates.

This debate has roped in Express Scripts, which is the largest pharmacy benefits manager in the US. Express Scripts now says that it will advise patients suffering from Hepatitis C on cheaper drugs that they can take instead of the more expensive options, especially where no demonstrable difference can be seen. The cheaper drugs may not offer the same level of convenience as the ones that are highly priced, but if they offer the same results once taken as per the recommendations, Express Scripts believes that the more affordable option would be better.

The reason behind he perception that GILD has an insatiable need for money, which it prioritizes more than anything else has come about due to the realization that the company has put a $84,000 price tag on its latest Hepatitis C drug. The Hepatitis C drug is known as Sovaldi, and is supposed to be taken within a 12-week period. In essence, what GILD has said here is that this drug will be taken in a three-month period, which amounts to around $28,000 per month. No matter how you look at it, the amount is too much to pay for a single drug.

Pricing is never an easy thing to consider. Many factors go into deciding which price is best for a particular drug. Each drug manufacturer looks at factors that it considers favorable to its business. The manufacturers may also have target market in mind when coming up with such prices. However, drug manufacturers need to be cautious on matters to do with perception. If the end user, who in this case is the Hepatitis C patient, feels that the drug is too expensive, and that the manufacturer is more concerned with money, they may be unwilling to buy the drug.

Gilead is not the only Hepatitis C drug manufacturer that has placed such a huge price on is product. Its competitor, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, sells its Incivek for $66,000, which is much higher than the $49,000 it started with when the drug first entered the market. One of the reasons that have convinced GILD to set a higher price for its Hepatitis C drug is the fact that it is used to treat genotypes 1 all the way to 4, while the other drugs only treat a single genotype. The most common genotype of Hepatitis C is 1a, and Sovaldi enjoys a 92 percent cure rate.

If you consider all factors and the fact that Solvadi, which is Gilead’s Hepatitis C drug, performs much better than the other drugs that are commonly used to treat this health condition, then it is safe to say that the company does not have an insatiable appetite for money.

1 comment:

  1. The question here is not about the "convenience" of treatment but the side effects which,with the older,cheaper drugs are often unbearable and lead to worse outcomes.