Gilead to sell cheaper versions of its hepatitis C drugs

Gilead Sciences will sell cheaper versions of its hepatitis C drugs, the original versions of which sparked widespread debate about U.S. pharmaceutical costs when they were introduced at a price of more than $1,000 a dose.

Gilead Sciences will sell cheaper versions of its hepatitis C drugs, the original versions of which sparked widespread debate about U.S. pharmaceutical costs when they were introduced at a price of more than $1,000 a dose. The new, cheaper versions of Gilead's ledipasvir–sofosbuvir (Harvoni) and sofosbuvir–velpatasvir (Epclusa) will cost $24,000 for a course of treatment, the company reports. When Harvoni came on the market in 2014, Gilead set a list price of $94,500. Epclusa was approved for sale in 2016, with a price of $74,760. Gilead says that dynamic and complicated insurance contracts are the reason it is forming a new business unit to offer versions of the drug at lower list prices. Express Scripts praised Gilead's move. "We are encouraged that a drugmaker is finally taking meaningful action to bring prices down for cash-paying customers," Express Scripts said in a statement. Gilead's new drugs, known as authorized generics, will be sold through a new subsidiary called Asegua Therapeutics.