Gilead Sciences, Inc. Fell after Express Scripts Dumps its Hepatitis Drugs

Gilead Sciences fell after Express Scripts Holding Company announced that it will exclude its hepatitis C treatments, Sovaldi and Harvoni from its National Preferred Formulary starting January 1, 2015.

The shares of the Gilead Sciences declined more than 11% to $95.87 per share at the time of this writing around 1:11 in the afternoon in New York.

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Express Scripts is the largest pharmacy-benefit manager in the United States. The company made its decision after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) approved Abbvie’s hepatitis C treatment called Viekira Pak on December 19.

Gilead Sciences’ hepatitis C treatments clinically equivalent to Viekera Pa

The independent Pharmacy Therapeutics and Theraupeutics Committee of Express Scripts found that Viekira Pak is at least clinically equivalent to Gilead Sciences’ Sovaldi and Harvoni

Express Scrippts decided to update its National Preferred Formulary by dumping the hepatitis treatments of Gilead Sciences and adding Abbvie’s Viekra Pak  as exclusive option for patients with genotype 1 Hepatitis C regardless of symptom of progression effective January 1.

Express Scripts covers around 25 million patients with hepatitis C

All patients with genotype 1 hepatitis C (approximately 25 million) covered by Express Scripts National Formulary will have access to Viekra Pak unlike other hepatitis C medications that are more expensive that may payers in the U.S. are only covering patients with stage 3 and 4 liver diseases.

In a statement, Steve Miller, M.D. senior vice president and chief medical officer at Express Scripts explained, “Express Scripts and AbbVie have a single focus: do what’s right for hepatitis C patients… Pharmaceutical innovation must be rewarded based on the value it brings to patients and payers. This agreement marks a fundamental change in how sustainable access and affordability will be delivered to hepatitis C patients.”

According to Express Scripts, the Gilead Sciences’ Sovaldi and Harvoni will still be available for patient who already started treatment regimens. Sovaldi will be available for patients with other hepatitis C genotypes with advances liver disease.

Express Scripts also excluded Olysio, the hepatitis C treatment of Jannsen Therapeutics from its National Preferred Formulary. The treatment will still be available for patients who already started treatment regimens.

Dr. Milled added, “We want all hepatitis C patients to receive the best care our healthcare system can deliver, but that option simply wasn’t possible until today. Our formulary approach makes specialty medications more affordable, and Accredo’s unique clinical model will enable as many patients as possible to be cured of hepatitis C.”