New Hep-C Drug Evaluated by Oregon Committee

Oregon is setting a precedent by considering limiting the availability of new Hep-C drugs to Medicaid patients.

At $84,000 per treatment, Tom Burns, director of pharmacy programs for the Oregon Health Authority states, “We can’t afford to treat everybody.” The state committee is considering limiting the treatment only to patients who are facing serious liver damage without the drug.

Currently, Sovaldi is available to Hep-C patients as a twelve-course treatment that runs $1,000 per pill. Sovaldi is more expensive here in the US than in many other countries – $57,000 in the UK, $66,000 in Germany, and could be as low as $900 in Egypt.

In a letter to the drug manufacturer, Gilead, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden leads the charge in looking for an explanation of the cost. Insurers and government agencies have both hesitated at paying the current price for Sovaldi saying that widespread use will make them unable to pay for the bulk of care of other patients.

Oregon will consider their guidelines in a meeting of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics committee on July 31.