France negotiates lowest price in Europe for Gilead Sciences' Sovaldi

The French government has negotiated a discount for Gilead Sciences' hepatitis C drug Sovaldi (sofosbuvir), which the country's health ministry said makes it "the lowest price in Europe." Under the government deal, the treatment will be fully reimbursable by health-funding schemes.

According to the ministry, the Economic Committee for Health Products fixed the price for a 28-tablet pack of Sovaldi at 13 667 euros ($17 138), which is 5000 euros ($6269) lower than the original price, while a 12-week course of treatment will cost 41 000 euros ($51 411), compared with 56 000 euros ($70 220) previously. Sovaldi costs $84 000 for a standard course of treatment in the US, where it has been criticised by some lawmakers as excessive.

Sovaldi, which generated third-quarter sales of $2.8 billion, was approved by the FDA last December to treat chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in patients with genotypes 1, 2, 3 or 4, as part of a combination antiviral regimen involving ribavirin and in certain cases peg-interferon alfa. The therapy was later cleared by the European Commission for the treatment of chronic HCV infection in adults, in combination with ribavirin and pegylated interferon alfa.

Earlier this week, the EU approved Gilead Sciences' Harvoni, which combines Sovaldi with the NS5A inhibitor ledipasvir, for the treatment of chronic HCV infection in adults. Harvoni was cleared last month in the US, where it will cost $94 500 for a 12-week course of treatment. Regulators in France recently granted the drug temporary approval at 16 000 euros ($20 064) per pack of 28 tablets, but negotiations are underway with the French government aiming for a lower price.

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