Three Democratic members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have sent a letter to Gilead Sciences demanding it justify the price of its recently approved hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi (sofosbuvir).

The Food and Drug Administration approved the hep C med for use in people who also have HIV, making it the first FDA-backed treatment for coinfection.

In the letter, ranking members Henry A. Waxman, Frank Pallone Jr. and Diana DeGette said they were responding to reports indicating that the pharmaceutical company intends to sell the drug at $84,000 per treatment, or up to $1,000 per pill.

They said that the prices are likely too high for many hep C patients with public and private health insurance, which will ultimately impede the treatment of the disease. The letter cites the fact that many state Medicaid programs are already seeking to limit the public's use of the new drug and that in places that do cover it, people with employer or individual coverage may have to make up these costs with more taxes and potential premium increases.

The committee is now requesting a full brief on the methodology used by Gilead to price Sovaldi, the extent to which the company plans to provide discounts for the drug, and the public health impact of insurers' decisions not to cover the medication for all patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV).

They are asking Gilead to provide this briefing to the public no later than April 3, 2014.

To read the letter, click here.