WHO adds to pressure on companies to cut cost of Hepatitis C drugs

The World Health Organization has joined those calling for a reduction in the prices of new Hepatitis C drugs, such as Gilead's (GILD) Sovaldi and Jonhson & Johnson's (JNJ) Olysio. In the U.S., Sovaldi costs $84,000 and Olysio $66,000.

Around 150M people worldwide suffer from chronic hepatitis C, but the vast majority live in poor countries that can't afford the price.

Pharmaceutical companies could follow the model that was used to bring the cost of HIV treatments down in the developing world, and Gilead is already giving Egypt a 99% discount on Sovaldi.

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Comments (16)
  • JDDurango
    , contributor
    Comments (475) | Send Message
    So is WHO also subsidizing the R&D of these drugs for these companies?


    I'm pretty certain I know the answer.
    9 Apr 2014, 08:42 AM Reply Like
  • 17208242
    , contributor
    Comments (25) | Send Message
    I am pretty sure that when Gilead built their revenue forecasting model, they were not planning on making money by selling Solvaldi in poor countries.
    9 Apr 2014, 09:11 AM Reply Like
  • Tumor Doomer
    , contributor
    Comments (3) | Send Message
    Sovaldi is cheaper than a liver transplant, but still beyond the financial reach of most patients with HCV
    9 Apr 2014, 09:12 AM Reply Like
  • Chazuu
    , contributor
    Comments (287) | Send Message
    Very few individuals can afford to pay directly for these drugs. Therefore, the great majority of sufferers who will receive them in the U. S. will be those who have good health insurance. The others are condemned to suffering and an early death.
    Providing these drugs to individuals in poor countries doesn't hurt the drug companies because the incremental cost of producing medicine is pretty small. The R & D cost is high.
    It would be a wonderful thing if the governments of the world would spend a tad less on armaments and subsidize the R & D cost.
    I'm afraid that is too much to hope for.
    9 Apr 2014, 09:44 AM Reply Like
  • Cleatus in Cleveland
    , contributor
    Comments (38) | Send Message
    "Hey nonny ding dong, alang alang alang
    Boom ba-doh, ba-doo ba-doodle-ay
    Oh, life could be a dream (sh-boom)"


    The Crew Cuts had it right in 1954 but Congressman Waxman and his minions (Express Scripts, WHO, ET AL) are biting the hand that cures dreaded diseases. The free market should decide the "price" for any product.
    9 Apr 2014, 10:12 AM Reply Like
  • Joe Lunchbox
    , contributor
    Comments (699) | Send Message
    After doing some research on another drug, I stumbled on the Hatch-Waxman Act. Seems that deals with patents and drug pricing and stuff. I also read about a lot of wheeling and dealing that goes on between the FDA, Congress, and drug companies concerning patents and pricing. Waxman should not complain too much, he's knee-deep in the hoopla.
    9 Apr 2014, 06:59 PM Reply Like
  • meanddelcanotc
    , contributor
    Comments (62) | Send Message
    When and if the companies give away medicines such as this, then who will pay for the research, the employees salaries, suppliers of materials and ROI for investors?
    9 Apr 2014, 10:26 AM Reply Like
  • pcaflisch
    , contributor
    Comments (263) | Send Message
    meanddel..... agreed.....where does the WHO and our congressman think the money to develop this drug came from? It was developed by the profits, probably considered excessive, by the LAST drugs Gilead brought to market. It would be interesting to see what life saving drugs will be developed from the profits of selling THIS drug.
    9 Apr 2014, 10:41 AM Reply Like
  • Love_ Money
    , contributor
    Comments (316) | Send Message
    This is socialism and not good for Research.
    9 Apr 2014, 10:42 AM Reply Like
  • duhaus
    , contributor
    Comments (320) | Send Message
    Big pharma r/d is subsidized by the U.S. govt. so WE are paying for it as well as the company's themselves. Some of the comments on here are showing ignorance, either willful or accidental, of this fact. I'm a GILD shareholder and would love nothing more than for them to profit as much as possible so I can share in it but I also have a conscience and a brain. If you simply want to profit with no regards to the big picture or what is right then so be it but please don't throw out uninformed opinions or worse yet incorrectly overused catchwords like "socialism" to try and justify it. Is Sovaldi overpriced ? I'm no expert but from what I've read I don't believe so but unfortunately sometimes reality is sometimes at odds with our hopes and plans. We shall see how this works out. JMHO
    9 Apr 2014, 11:07 AM Reply Like
  • Discreet_Suffolk
    , contributor
    Comments (18) | Send Message
    free market capitalism - GILD paid the price to R&D and now everyone wants it for FREE.......LOL


    They should now increase the price to $85,000
    9 Apr 2014, 11:23 AM Reply Like
  • malakb
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
    can you afford this price? come on! the drug is developed to help heal, not to get patient go bankrupt?
    10 Apr 2014, 09:57 AM Reply Like
  • Joe Lunchbox
    , contributor
    Comments (699) | Send Message
    It would be nice if they could afford to pull Sovaldi off the shelves for a month and let the public outcry reach these organizations trying to meddle in Gilead's affairs.
    9 Apr 2014, 07:07 PM Reply Like
  • Chazuu
    , contributor
    Comments (287) | Send Message
    Thanks for your voice of reason!
    10 Apr 2014, 12:12 PM Reply Like
  • Hepar
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
    How about a group of logical, prudent physicians who care for patients with hepatitis C present the costs for hospitalizing these patients until death, as well as the cost for their care at
    home following discharge and then subtract the cost of the Sovaldi medicine which cures the disease and publicize the savings to the W.H.O. and other meddlers.
    Ranganoa, Jr.
    10 Apr 2014, 12:34 PM Reply Like
  • TION
    , contributor
    Comments (19) | Send Message
    The problem is created by the drug companies by their pricing by country and ability to pay. This is socialism!
    10 Apr 2014, 12:34 PM Reply Like
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