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What is the cost of Sovaldi? Why is it so expensive?

What is the cost of Sovaldi? Why is it so expensive?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Fookes, BPharm. Last updated on Apr 23, 2020.

  • The wholesale cost of Sovaldi is $1000 per 400mg tablet.
  • A 12-week treatment course of Sovaldi costs around $84,000 and a 24-week course, $168,00.
  • This does not take into account the cost of the other treatment used with Sovaldi, and Sovaldi is always given in combination, never alone.
  • Most insurance companies and Medicare cover the cost of Sovaldi if you meet certain criteria but check first.
  • Gilead, the manufacturer of Sovaldi has a special patient assistance program called Support Path™ that may assist with co-pays or make Sovaldi available at no charge for eligible and qualified uninsured patients.
  • All hepatitis C drugs are expensive reflecting the cost of bringing the drugs to market; a need for hepatitis C treatments, especially cures; a lack of competition; and few generics.

Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) is an antiviral medicine that is used to treat chronic hepatitis C in adults and children who are at least 3 years old. Sovaldi must be given in combination with other antiviral medications (traditionally ribavirin but nowadays usually ledipasvir or velpatasvir). Sofosbuvir should not be used alone.

Sovaldi is expensive.

The wholesale cost of Sovaldi is $1000 per 400mg tablet. This means a 12-week treatment course of Sovaldi would cost around $84,000 and a 24-week course, $168,000. This does not take into account the cost of the other treatment used with Sovaldi, and Sovaldi is always given in combination with other treatments, never alone.

Most insurance companies and Medicare cover the cost of Sovaldi; however, you may have to meet certain criteria and you should always check with your insurance company first before you and your doctor make it your preferred treatment. There may also be a co-pay.

Gilead, the manufacturer or Sovaldi has a special patient assistance program called Support Path™ that may assist with co-pay insurance coupons or make Sovaldi available at no charge for eligible and qualified uninsured patients insurance who need assistance paying for their out-of-pocket medication costs. To learn more about Support Path, call +1 855 769 72846, Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).

If you have no success getting Sovaldi at a reduced cost through Gilead’s Support Path, you could try organizations that offer help to people with hepatitis C, such as the American Liver Foundation, Hepatitis Foundation International, or Needy Meds.

Why are hepatitis C treatments so expensive?

It costs a lot of money to bring a drug to market, around 900 million dollars, which is why new drugs are usually very expensive.

There is also a lot of demand for hepatitis C treatments, particularly the newer agents that have excellent cure rates.

There is also little competition out there from other drug companies, which also means that manufacturers of hepatitis C treatments can essentially charge what they like.

And high cure rates are definitely one of the key reasons hepatitis C treatments cost so much. Once you have completed a course of one of these newer hepatitis C treatments, you may never need to retreat yourself again, unless you are re-exposed to the virus in some way.

The cost should reduce once generic formulations come onto the market or more drug companies start manufacturing hepatitis C treatments.

How does Sovaldi work?

Sovaldi interferes with the reproduction of genetic material of the hepatitis C virus, by inhibiting an RNA-dependent polymerase called HCV NS5B, which is also needed by the virus to replicate itself.

Sofosbuvir is a prodrug, which means it is metabolized in the body to its active component and incorporated into the DNA of the HCV virus. Sofosbuvir also works directly on viral RNA and does not inhibit human DNA or RNA.

Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) was a breakthrough medicine when it was FDA approved in 2013 for the treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis C, in combination with other medications (usually ribavirin). It was the first of its kind that offered people with chronic hepatitis C the chance of a cure and represented a treatment option for those who could not tolerate or take an interferon-based treatment regimen and in participants with liver cancer awaiting transplantation, addressing unmet medical needs.

Sofosbuvir is primarily used now in fixed-dose combinations, such as Harvoni (which contains sofosbuvir in combination with Ledipasvir) or Epclusa ((which contains sofosbuvir in combination with velpatasvir).

The recommended dose of Sovaldi is 400mg taken orally once a day, with or without food.

What are the side effects of Sovaldi?

The most common Sovaldi side effects occurring in 10% or more of patients are:

  • headache
  • fatigue
  • itching
  • asthenia (lack of energy)
  • nausea.

 

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