February 3, 2015 / 7:01 PM / 5 years ago

Catamaran backs Gilead's hepatitis C treatment over AbbVie competitor

(Reuters) - Pharmacy benefit manager Catamaran Corp said on Tuesday that it will back Gilead Sciences Inc’s Harvoni and Sovaldi as exclusive hepatitis C treatments on its drug coverage lists.

Gilead has been striking deals with pharmacy benefit managers and insurers since AbbVie Inc late last year launched a competing product called Viekera Pak that produces similar high cure rates for hepatitis C.

The agreement puts Catamaran among the majority of payers which have announced deals for preferred or exclusive status fpr the Gilead drug, including Aetna Inc and UnitedHealth Group Inc.

Catamaran said its agreement is based on clinical outcomes and delivered through its BriovaRx specialty pharmacy. It said patients would be monitored for full adherence to the drug regimen.

The company declined to provide further information about the structure of the agreement, which it said is designed to ensure that the high-cost therapies deliver their promised results.

Harvoni, a combination pill that includes Sovaldi, has a list price of $94,500 while Sovaldi alone sells for $84,000 per treatment. AbbVie’s treatment, which comes in a blister pack with multiple pills to be taken each day, lists for $83,319. Analysts and investors have estimated that the price war between AbbVie and Gilead has resulted in discounts and rebates of around 30 percent, but both companies have declined to comment on these figures.

Reporting by Caroline Humer; Editing by Grant McCool

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