Gilead Sciences Dominates 95% of Hep C Treatment Market

By John Lavitt 08/12/15

Rival AbbVie is lagging far behind with its own hep C regimen.

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Gilead Sciences, Inc., is dominating the hepatitis C treatment marketplace in the United States. With around a 95% market share, the pharmaceutical giant is leaving AbbVie Inc. far behind in the race. The data is compiled on a regular basis by Symphony Health Data and was reported on by Bloomberg Intelligence.

With close to six million people infected with the hepatitis C virus in the United States, Gilead’s HCV drugs, Sovaldi and Harvoni, have been used to treat around 130,000 HCV patients in 2015. AbbVie’s rival drug, Viekira Pak, on the other hand, was used to treat only 10,000 HCV lives in the U.S. during the same period. Still, Gilead’s first HCV drug, Sovaldi, which costs around $85,000 for a 12-week treatment course, did see a slight decline in its prescription volumes over the first half of the year.

The major reason for this decline was not due to the success of competitors. Rather, it was the success of another Gilead treatment regimen. Harvoni, an advanced version of Sovaldi, was launched by Gilead in October 2014 with a price tag set at $94,500 for the standard 12-week treatment course. During the first quarter of 2015, prescriptions for Harvoni totaled up to 112,440 scripts, and increased to 125,804 during the second quarter.

Viekira Pak was launched by AbbVie as a direct competitor to Gilead’s Harvoni. With an aggressive marketing strategy adopted by AbbVie, Viekira Pak debuted with a price tag of $83,320 for 12-week treatment. Despite the punch in marketing, the drug failed to make a significant dent in the Gilead sales.

For the first half of 2015, total prescriptions for HCV drugs from AbbVie and Gilead, combined, totaled up to 311,652, out of which around 95% of the prescriptions were written for Gilead’s HCV drugs, and only 5% for AbbVie’s drug.

A greater question that is not being addressed on Wall Street is the high cost of treatment regimens that are making them inaccessible to many HCV-infected people in need of help. When it comes to successful hepatitis C treatment options, money definitely takes precedence over people.

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.