Doctor Panel to Weigh Hepatitis C Drugs’ Costs in Guidelines

(Bloomberg) -- An influential advisory panel of doctors and health experts will for the first time address the cost-effectiveness of pricey hepatitis C drugs in updated guidelines that may change prescribing and coverage for the medicines.

The 30-member panel is a joint effort by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and the Infectious Diseases Society of America, which together represent more than 10,000 physicians, health workers and scientists. The guidelines are used by doctors for expertise on how to treat patients and by insurers and governments in setting policy.

Health insurers and government programs have been grappling with the cost of the pills. Made by Gilead Sciences Inc. and AbbVie Inc., they offer higher cure rates and fewer side effects than older medicines, though their $1,000-a-day price tag has generated criticism.