PARIS Nov 20 France has negotiated a big
discount for Gilead Sciences Inc's controversial new
hepatitis C drug Sovaldi, under a government deal that ensures
it will be fully reimbursable by health-funding schemes.
The Economic Committee for Health Products (CEPS) has fixed
the price of a box of Sovaldi at 13,667 euros before tax, a
reduction of 5,000 euros on the original price and "the lowest
price in Europe", the Health Ministry said on Thursday.
Twelve weeks of treatment will now cost 41,000 euros
($51,373) before tax, against 56,000 euros previously.
In the United States, where Sovaldi's high price has sparked
controversy and pushed up insurance companies' costs, a 12-week
course costs $84,000, or $1,000 per pill.
Some 200,000 people in France have hepatitis C and the total
cost of treatment to the national health fund is 800 million
euros a year.
Sovaldi has racked up record sales despite a fierce debate
over its price and concerns that high demand will place a huge
burden on government-run health plans and private insurers.
Last month, U.S. regulators approved the sale of a new
hepatitis C pill from Gilead, called Harvoni, which will cost
$94,500 for an improved 12-week course of treatment to rid
patients of the liver-destroying viral infection.
Harvoni has just won temporary approval for sale in France
at 16,000 euros a box but negotiations are taking place with the
French government aiming for a lower price.
($1 = 0.7981 euro)
(Reporting by Gregory Blachier; Writing by Mark John and Ben
Hirschler; Editing by Hugh Lawson)