Special Sale Price: Docs Divided Over Discount on AbbVie Hepatitis C Drug

The decision by Express Scripts ESRX +1.69% to make the AbbVie ABBV -1.09% hepatitis C treatment the exclusive option for patients with the most common type of the virus caused a ruckus on Wall Street, although the reaction among some doctors and patient advocates was mixed.

For Gilead Sciences GILD -14.34%, the market leader in hepatitis C drugs, the move by the big pharmacy benefits manager was the proverbial bitter pill. Gilead shares plunged 14% to $92.90, wiping out more than $20 billion in market capitalization over expectations of a big hit to sales.

“The impact of the deal is clearly a negative for Gilead,” writes Sanford Bernstein analyst Geoff Porges in an investor note. But he maintains that impact may be blunted because the deal may only affect 8% of Americans infected with the disease, and even then not all will be eligible for the new AbbVie drug called Viekira Pak.

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