The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was authorized to spend as
much as $500 million for hepatitis C treatments through Oct. 1 as part
of the emergency highway funding bill signed into law on Friday.
The spending could provide a short-term sales boost for Gilead
Sciences Inc., which makes the hepatitis C treatments Harvoni and
Sovaldi, and for AbbVie Inc., which makes a similar drug, Viekira Pak.
Gilead sold $4.9 billion of its hepatitis C pills in the second quarter,
while AbbVie sold $385 million of its treatment in the same period.
While the drugs provide a cure for the disease, which can cause liver
damage to the point of needing a transplant, their prices have
attracted a firestorm of criticism from politicians and insurers. List
prices for the treatments are more than $83,000 for a 12-week course.
Labels: increased funding, VA (Veterans Administration)