August 28, 2012
Activists Protest Stribild’s $28,500 Price Tag
by Tim Horn
The Fair Pricing Coalition and other activists are taking Gilead Sciences to task for what they say is an exorbitant per-patient annual wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) for Striblid (elvitegravir plus cobicistat, tenofovir and emtrictabine), the fixed-dose combination tablet formerly known as the 'Quad' approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday, August 27.
In a news announcement released Tuesday, August 28, the coalition of activists who work on HIV and viral hepatitis drug pricing issues “strongly protests” the $28,500 WAC announced by Gilead. And in the hours following the drug's approval, Simon Collins of the U.K.-based HIV i-base penned an article indicating that "the expected welcome for an important new option for treatment has been firmly squashed by the indication that Gilead plan to market [Stribild] at a price that will exclude access for most HIV-positive patients in Europe."
“This is a long-anticipated addition to the options available to people living with HIV/AIDS and their healthcare providers”, echoed Lynda Dee, a Fair Pricing Coalition spokesperson. “However, in pricing the new drug more than 35 percent above the $21,000 per-year WAC price of its own best-selling single-tablet regimen, Atripla [efavirenz plus tenofovir and emtricitabine], Gilead has created an environment of restricted access and financial hardship for patients impacted by current dire economic conditions and U.S. healthcare costs and whose very lives depend on access to more convenient treatments.”
The Fair Pricing Coalition believes Gilead is pricing cobicistat, its own booster component of Stribild, comparably with Abbott Laboratories’ Norvir [ritonavir], “which includes Abbott’s unconscionable 400 percent price increase” while its closest competitor Merck & Co.’s integrase inhibitor Isentress (raltegravir), plus Truvada (tenofovir plus emtricitabine), needs no booster and has an annual WAC of $26,200.
Thus, Dee and her colleagues suggest, “Stribild’s booster component cobicistat is more like excess baggage than an achievement worth $2,000 above the only other approved integrase inhibitor combination.” They add that there may also be a greater risk of kidney side effects with Stribild than with the Merck integrase inhibitor combination.
"The strategic decision to price [Stribild] beyond the reach of most people threatens to undermine Gilead’s reputation with doctors, researchers, patients and ultimately shareholders," Collins wrote. "The easiest way to recoup investment costs for development of a new drug is to price it at a level where it will be widely used. The underlying greed from the current proposed price will make it impossible for activists to argue for patient choice when scarce funding is merely being diverted to pharmaceutical profits. Ultimately, from 27 August onwards, most people in Europe are likely to continue on existing treatments only, and new approvals will become only aspirational care, lanquishing underutilized until their patent expires, just after the announcement of a cure."
“Gilead asked for community input in setting the price of its new product, and invited the Fair Pricing Coaltion to the negotiating table in June for discussions,” said Dee. “We thought we had reached a reasonable understanding with Gilead, but evidently the company is more interested in filling its coffers than in reasonable and fair pricing. I’m shocked at the price they have set, and would call this a betrayal of the spirit of our negotiations.“
Search: hiv, stribild, quad, elvitegravir, cobicistat, tenofovir, emtricitabine, truvada, atripla, norvir, price, wac, wholesale acquisition cost, fair pricing coalition, fpc, lynda dee
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comments 1 - 13 (of 13 total)
Frederick Wright, Coachella Valley, 2012-10-01 10:31:04
I can hear Gilead Science or their excutive saying,"What more do these people want?". You see the first tier pricing of 28,000 year is the game Gilead and all of Pharma play. With cash, if you have it is 20 percent discount off the top. No one buys in cash, however one can count on the government buying at Teir 2 for we paid the most in the world for life saving drugs. It is a secert what Teir 3 and Teir 4 are for big spenders like Human and Walgreen. Gilead we would like Tranparence and Truth.
Andy, , 2012-09-27 09:23:41
All I read is so much BS justifying murderous prices so we can put someone's kid through Harvard or pay for a second house on an island. I don't care what their justification is, it's more than they need to make a fair profit. Let's talk about ways that the price can come down, not what their PR spin is on the pricing, or how Gilead will "lose esteem" in the eyes of physicians.
Vapur9, , 2012-09-23 14:00:43
You're telling a for-profit company to price its temporary monopoly patents fairly? Get real. Your health is not their number one concern.
JrB, Austin, TX, 2012-09-15 11:21:30
It is pricing imbalances like these that have kept me on the Federal Disability payroll for 4 years, and making it virtually impossible to go back to work and afford to pay for my own healthcare and living expenses. At just over $21,000 a year just for the pill to keep me alive I would have to make over $50,000 a year just to afford a basic apartment/lifestyle and that's INSANE! We need to stop the madness while large pharma get rich. CEO makes $34,000 an hour?! We all should be ashamed to allow
KENNETH, Vallejo, 2012-09-06 04:34:02
Seems like the only way to afford this drug is to buy Gilead Stock and watch the stock price go up so fast that you can sell it and afford the medication because at this price the stock price should sky-rocket. Come on GILEAD you can do better than this... you stock price has done very well year after year after year. I know I purchased $15,000 and made over $100,000 in a rather short period of time.
Crystal, Texas, 2012-09-04 15:56:31
As much as I would like to believe that pricing is based on a possible cure in the near future, it isn't so. The patents on many current medications are running out within the next year. Meaning that other companies will be able to produce them at lower cost. To make up for all that lost revenue the will be pricing new medications being released at higher price points.
Frederick Wright, Coachella Valley, 2012-08-31 08:23:53
Again you gentlemen are giving to much power to these Bio Companies. Gilead is testing the waters to see if AIDS Activist still have political cloud as before, You all must understand that ADAP is the last arm of negoiation before price controls may come to the table and that is these folks fear. I must stress that the way the branch sway the roots will follow. Gilead knows the power of HIV advocates in the past and we must demand fair pricing, others will follow, ie 100 of cancer,dyalis,MS...
elizajane, Boston, 2012-08-30 12:48:39
It's no different than for-profit methadone clinics...where's the hurry to get folks off methadone when they are making a HUGE profit? There is none. Nor is there ever a push with big pharma, to find cures for anything. It's all about the bottom line and getting the highest return for investors...yay capitalism. The whole healthcare and insurance industry needs an overhaul; but as long as there are people making money from illness and/or medications, there will be no cure. For any disease.
keith, eu, 2012-08-29 12:33:43
hope your right
As I said my money is one Vacc 4x/Vacc HIV, not as a cure but a replacement for HAART. And cord blood for the functional cure.
Preventative vaccines also seem to be comming a long.
Even id only 50% reliable they should allow them.
50% less new HIV cases is better than none and its easier to vaccinate people than get them to take a pill everyday, apply a gel or wear a condom.
Kelly L, Arleta, 2012-08-29 11:55:16
This is exactly why I have no hope for a cure ever being found. There is too much profit in the treatment of the disease, and no incentive to finding a way to stop it takes away that profit.
M. Jones, Pensacola, 2012-08-29 10:47:51
With Gilead's CEO making close to $34,000 an hour, I fail to see why they need to make a life saving medication so out of reach to the average person. I agree with other posts that they are cashing in because a cure is coming soon. It absolutley disgusts me that a company puts high income above the health and well being of human life. They would amply make up for profits making sure that the medication was available to all on waiting list for ADAP and other organizations.
Ranjan, , 2012-08-29 04:51:22
The high price if HIV medication seems to be an indicator of cure being around the corner and they want to cash in before it becomes a reality. Hope the cure comes sooner than they expected
Jarlath Healy, Jonestown, TX, 2012-08-29 00:53:29
comments 1 - 13 (of 13 total)
Someone had recently told me that these company's are milking what they can, QUICK. With Sangamo, GeoVax and other clinical trials showing promise with cures and vaccines. It's almost conceivable that within ten years, HIV medications and possibly HIV period- will be a thing of the past. Before this will happen, I can only expect nothing less from these companies. In which they understand their time is coming to an end for this disease market.
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