[Ip-health] Going after Gilead

George Carter gmcfiar at gmail.com
Mon Dec 28 10:50:00 PST 2015

Time to go after executives for malfeasance and price gouging.
George M. Carter

The Predatory Pricing Policy of Harvoni as a Modern-Day Scrooge
December 26, 2015, 08:00:00AM. By Gordon Gibb <https://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/writers/gordon-gibb.html>	 <> <> <> <> <> <>
Washington, DCIn the wake of a congressional inquiry into prices and pricing strategy inherent with hepatitis blockbuster drugs Harvoni and Sovaldi, comes damning insight into the workings of a manufacturer pricing a drug through the stratosphere - its expectations for a backlash and its plan for damage control. The revelation should provide added fodder for plaintiffs and their attorneys embroiled in Harvoni Lawsuits <https://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/lawsuit/harvoni-denied-insurance-claim.html>.

Harvoni and its immediate predecessor Sovaldi are both manufactured and marketed by Gilead Sciences Inc. (Gilead) and are designed to treat and eradicate hepatitis C. Previous drugs have not been nearly as successful, and an outright cure for hepatitis C has been elusive. Harvoni and Sovaldi have come closest to delivering a complete cure, with outstanding success rates. Some doctors have hailed the dynamic duo as miracle drugs.

But it comes with a cost: $84,000 for Sovaldi and $94,500 for Harvoni. That money pays for one full treatment regimen each, lasting about 12 weeks. While such pricing strategy has resulted in massive revenue for Gilead ($10 billion in combined revenue based on US sales alone for the first nine months of 2015), insurance companies have been balking at the cost and denying patients the opportunity for treatment. Harvoni Denied Insurance Claim Lawsuits have followed.

Pundits suggest plaintiffs might do well to turn their wrath against Gilead, based on reams of documents recently made public in the wake of the congressional hearings.

Some 2,000 pages of documents were procured to facilitate the Senate Finance Committee investigation overseen by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). According to Wyden, at a press conference earlier this month, “the documents show that it was always Gilead’s plan to maximize ... revenue, and that affordability and accessibility were pretty much an afterthought,” the Senator said.


Debunking Harvoni Pricing <https://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/articles/harvoni-denied-insurance-claim/harvoni-lawsuits-denied-insurance-claim-8-21079.html>
Harvoni Treatment Denied Lawsuit Accuses Insurer of ERISA Violations <https://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/articles/harvoni-denied-insurance-claim/harvoni-lawsuits-denied-insurance-claim-7-21001.html>
Harvoni Lawsuit Filed by Inmates Seeks Class-Action Status <https://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/articles/harvoni-denied-insurance-claim/harvoni-lawsuits-denied-insurance-claim-6-20887.html>While there was no information as to whether or not Gilead released the true production cost of each pill v. the usual retail price of about $1,000 and up per pill, documents show that Gilead was preparing for a massive backlash on pricing. Two weeks prior to the approval of Sovaldi in November 2013, the then-executive vice president of the firm warned colleagues in an e-mail against folding to advocacy pressure. Color-coded charts were issued for study within the firm. Those charts attempted to forecast the reaction of stakeholders to what has since been described as predatory pricing of Harvoni and Sovaldi - with chart sectors attempting to predict whether patients and stakeholders were “likely” or “very likely” to react negatively to the pricing.

Gilead also predicted that the firm’s pricing of Sovaldi (and subsequently Harvoni) would trigger a congressional inquiry. That inquiry came to pass.

Following release of the documents earlier this month, Gilead issued a statement confirming its belief that it had priced Sovaldi and Harvoni “responsibly and thoughtfully.”

Anyone currently litigating or considering a Gilead Hep C Denied Insurance Claim Lawsuit might well consider the thoughtful and responsible way in which important drugs are priced at over $1,000 per pill - pricing that foretold countless balks on the part of insurance companies and Medicaid to deny needed treatment.

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