Gilead Sciences has announced its intention to release authorized generic versions of its two top-selling hepatitis C virus (HCV) regimens, Epclusa (sofosbuvir/velpatasvir) and Harvoni (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir). The pharmaceutical giant will release these medications through a newly established subsidiary company, Asegua Therapeutics LLC.
The generic treatments will be available in January 2019 and will have a list price of $24,000 for the most common course of therapy.
Gilead, quite controversially, set the price of Harvoni at $94,500 for 12 weeks of treatment when it was approved in 2014. During the current era of highly effective hep C treatments, which began after Gilead released Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) in 2013, the cost paid for such regimens has decreased by more than 60 percent off the list prices as multiple pharmaceutical companies have released competing drugs.
According to Gilead, the new price of its generics is more in line with the ultimate cost to insurers of the branded equivalents, after taking into account various discounts. The company projects that for those who have Medicare Part D, using the generic rather than the branded Gilead drugs could save up to $2,500 in out-of-pocket costs per hep C treatment. State-managed Medicaid programs that are not able to negotiate lower effective prices for HCV drugs may also save considerably by opting to cover the generic Gilead medications, a shift that may lead these programs to loosen their eligibility requirements for hep C therapies and allow more low-income people to receive treatment.
To read a press release about Gilead’s announcement, click here.