Sovaldi is drawing more flak from the payers' side of the fence. This time AHIP -- the largest health insurance trade group is saying the drug works great in the clinic but costs too much. They characterized its cost as "unsustainable" in the US healthcare market.
Curiously, at least to me, Sovaldi does appear to offer such great clinical benefits -- it actually cures significant numbers of Hep C infections -- that it probably is worth its costs in downstream medical savings. But, I think it suffers from the fact that its target patient population is so vast that the total amount that could go to the drug will likely exceed $10 B this year alone -- and it was just launched!! Payers don't seem to like that much.
But I still think it likely pays for itself with other medical savings and increased quality/productivity of life for those treated patients. One would think that some of the other drugs with less glorious clinical profiles and equally high prices would draw more fire. But again, I think the total payout is so large with Sovaldi that it is just too difficult to ignore by payers. I'd like to see a real cost/benefit analysis done on this drug so we can truly assess whether it is "too expensive". One shouldn't only react to the sticker price but also to the clinical result.
I suspect Sovaldi is one drug that is actually worth its price. That likely isn't true for some of the other therapies -- particularly in the cancer arena that are expensive but only have shown months worth of life extension. See Fierce Pharma.
Posted by Bruce Lehr May 21st 2014.