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Hepatitis C drug maker puts profit ahead of patients, US Senate report charges

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h6573 (Published 03 December 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6573
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

Gilead Sciences set the price of its hepatitis C treatment sofosbuvir (marketed as Sovaldi) at $1000 a pill or $84 000 (£56 000; €79 000) for a single course of treatment to maximize revenue and to make it possible for it to charge even more for its follow-on combination drug, a US Senate finance committee has concluded. It did this even though officials at the California based company knew that lowering the price would allow more patients to be treated, the committee’s investigation found.

The committee’s report said, “Over the eight months Gilead spent determining the price of Sovaldi, the company repeatedly made clear its primary focus was outmaneuvering potential competitors to ensure its drugs had the greatest share of the market, for the highest price, for the longest period of time.”1

In a press conference on 1 December announcing the investigation’s findings, Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat and the committee’s ranking member, …

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