Senate Report: Drug Company Put Profits Ahead of Patients
Following an 18-month investigation into the high cost of new drugs to treat hepatitis C, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee accused the pharmaceutical company, Gilead Science, of putting profits ahead of providing access of the medications to patients.
The investigation focused primarily on the cost of Gilead's Sovaldi and its follow-on combination treatment Harvoni. Sovaldi was introduced at a list price of $84,000 for a course of treatment, or about $1,000 per pill. The Gilead drugs, however, were a vast improvement over prior treatments that had far lower cure rates and difficult side effects.
The report concluded that the vast majority of the more than 700,000 people with hepatitis C on Medicaid haven't been able to get treatment due to the high cost.
Perhaps most scathingly, it also contended that Sovaldi and Harvoni prices did not reflect the cost of research and development or the $11 billion Gilead paid for Pharmasset to acquire the drugs, but purely a desire to maximize profit.
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