It’s going to be interesting who’s going to win this bidding war between AbbVie Inc. and Gilead Sciences Inc., the two only companies that manufacture the hepatitis C drugs.
The influence peddling has begun and insurance companies are finding themselves once more to be the recipient of huge discounts which hopefully they’re going to pass on to their clients. Its 2015, both companies promised last year that nothing of this sort is going to happen this year. It’s business as usual however.
Deals have been struck and Anthem Inc., the most popular health insurance company in the country announced yesterday that they have already chosen one of the drug companies to be their partner. The deal includes very affordable hepatitis drugs. Anthem, Inc., is just the third insurance provider to acknowledge that they have already agreed to sign an exclusive contract with one of the two pharmaceutical companies.
How much the insurance companies are willing to share the discounts to their customers will determine the market price of the drugs. It may or may not influence the prices of the other top selling drugs used at present in treating heart disease, multiple sclerosis, cancer or rheumatism.
The President of Gilead, John Milligan, said in 2013 that their pricing scheme is only used as a determining factor on a case to case basis.. He explained since people wouldn’t buy cheap product and put themselves in harm’s way, low pricing strategies wouldn’t “probably” be to the company’s best interest.
In the same way, Richard Gonzalez, CEO of AbbVie, expressed his views saying it’s not the company’s policy to cut prices just to get customers to buy their products.
The mouth has spoken but the price war eventually took place. Both made their own deals to this effect. Express Scripts Holding Co., made a deal with AbbVie in December. The exchange is for Abbvie to give huge discounts while Express Scripts will promote the Biotech’s hepatitis C drugs for 2 years.
Two mutual beneficiaries agreed to close deal with Gilead right away. The two are CVS Health Corp and Anthem on Harvoni drug. Anthem disclosed yesterday that Gilead offered huge discounts to be included on the list of covered drugs.
Both Gilead and Abbvie issued no statements.
Roger Longman, CEO of Real Endpoints LLC, said the price war between Gilead-Abbvie is the first one to happen in the area of specialty drugs.
(Anthem has almost 17 million plan holders and Script’s on the other hand has 8 million.
Mr. Longman expects to see the same price wars in other drug classifications including medications for cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.
Insurers, health providers and lawmakers have been criticizing Gilead and Abbvie for their overpriced hepatitis C drugs. Sovaldi, Gilead’s first hepatitis C drug, costs 84,000 for 12 weeks, Harvoni, Gilead’s improved hepatitis C drug, costs nearly $95,000 for a 12-week course of treatment, while Abbvie’s Viekira Pak costs $83,319 for a 12-week-long treatment.