Payers have complained loudly about the cost of next-gen hep C meds from Gilead and AbbVie, arguing that the drugs should be reserved for the sickest patients. But now insurers are facing some evidence to the contrary, as a new study shows that new hep C meds are cost-effective when taken in early stages of the disease.
Amgen's knockoff of AbbVie's top-selling Humira measured up to its reference product in a Phase III trial, clearing the way for the Big Biotech as it waits for the blockbuster injection to lose patent protection next year.
Some state Medicaid programs have held back on covering pricey hep C meds, limiting access to the drugs to the sickest individuals to save cash. But the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is not pleased with this approach and is calling on hep C drugmakers to lay out some pricing options that could help expand coverage for patients.
Japan will see the next entrant in a fierce hepatitis C battle later this year with AbbVie set to launch, putting Gilead Sciences and Bristol-Myers Squibb on the spot to hold sales in the key Asian reimbursement market.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) often has a bone to pick with Big Pharma, especially when it comes to the industry's patents on expensive life-extending meds. As part of its latest tirade, the group is urging the South African government to override a patent for AbbVie's HIV drug, Aluvia, after shortages of the med cropped up in the country.
Valeant may be through with specialty pharmacy Philidor, which CVS;and Express Scripts dropped from their networks last week on questions about its business practices. But other companies still maintain relationships with specialty pharmacies, and Express Scripts now says it's reviewing those, too.
Humira continued to bring in more than half of AbbVie's revenues, exceeding analysts' expectations and propelling the drugmaker to an earnings beat. But one of the company's hopefuls, hep C med Viekira Pak, missed in Q3, potentially throwing a wrench into AbbVie's plans to reap more from new meds.
A new FDA warning about AbbVie's hepatitis C cocktail hasn't affected patients' access to treatment, pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts said on Wednesday.
Last week, the FDA came down on AbbVie for serious liver issues tied to its hep C fighters Viekira Pak and Technivie, calling on the company to update the drugs' labels to warn doctors against using the meds in patients with advanced forms of the disease. Now the Illinois pharma could be facing the music with Express Scripts, as the PBM is planning to hold a meeting to review the news and changes to the drugs' labels.
AbbVie counts on dealmaking with PBMs to compete with rivals in the hep C sphere, inking an exclusive pact with Express Scripts last year for its hep C powerhouse Viekira Pak and setting off a pricing war with Gilead Sciences. But AbbVie's rapport with Express Scripts could be on the rocks after the FDA warned of serious liver injuries tied to Viekira Pak and demanded that the company update the med's label.