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Gilead cuts hepatitis C drug prices in Germany

Discount on Sovaldi and Harvoni follows similar agreement in France

Gilead Sciences 

Gilead Sciences is offering discounts to some health insurers in Germany on its two hepatitis drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni, according to local press reports.

The size of the discounts has not been revealed but follows weeks of negotiation between Gilead and the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds (GKV-Spitzenverband), an umbrella group for insurers who represent around 70m people in Germany.

Gilead confirmed last week that an agreement with the GKV-Spitzenverband had not been reached, and now it seems Gilead has bypassed the national body with separate deal with individual insurance companies to reduce the price of the drugs, which have a list price of around €60,000 per treatment course in Germany.

German business magazine WirtschaftsWoche reported over the weekend that discounts have now been negotiated with 35% of Germany's insurers, including AOK Rheinland/Hamburg, AOK Lower Saxony, Barmer GEK and Techniker Krankenkasse (TK).

Meanwhile, discussions with GKV-Spitzenverband have gone to an arbitration procedure that is not expected to conclude until April at the earliest, although Gilead has indicated agreement could come at any time.

Germany is the largest pharmaceutical market in Europe, valued by Business Monitor International at around €40bn, although growth has been static (and slightly negative last year) due to changes to the national reimbursement regime. The country is home to an estimated 280,000 hepatitis C virus (HCV) infected patients.

Gilead has also signed agreements with Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) and Harvoni (ledipasvir and sofosbuvir) in France and the UK although the latter has delayed the availability of the drug until the middle of this year while it puts a process in place to fund the treatment.

Sovaldi exploded onto the market around the end of 2013/early 2014 as the first drug that provided a high cure rate, simple once-daily dosing and freedom from injectable treatment with interferon-based regimens, which can have significant side effects. Gilead won approval for follow-up Harvoni in Europe last November.

The approval of AbbVie's rival regimen Viekirax (ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir) and Exviera (dasabuvir) earlier this month has provided the first major competition to Gilead's position in the evolving HCV sector and given insurers a leg-up in pricing negotiations.

That is most apparent in the US, where both AbbVie and Gilead have announced a series of deals with pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) companies giving discounts in return for exclusivity for their drugs in formularies.

Article by
Phil Taylor

26th January 2015

From: Sales

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