Gilead Hep C Drug Launch Threatened by Price Concerns

Updated with analyst defense of Gilead Sciences

The top medical officer for pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts  ( ESRX) expressed concerns about high pricing for the new crop of hepatitis C pills, most notably Gilead Sciences'  ( GILD) Sovaldi, according to a Bloomberg story Tuesday.

Solvadi may be pitted against other hepatitis C therapies, Express Scripts' chief medical officer said, and "tough formulary decisions" will be made. 

Shares of Gilead are down 4.5% to $71.84 after the Bloomberg story hit the wires. Shares of Abbvie, on the other hand, are up 4.5% to $53.51. 

The FDA approved Gilead's Sovaldi on Friday and the drug is priced at $1,000 per pill, or $84,000 for a 12-week course of therapy.

Abbvie's Hep C regimen is expected to be approved next year. If the company prices the drug cocktail right, it may gain extra market share and revenue, based on the Express Scripts comments today.

Shares of Enanta Pharma ( ENTA), which contributes a drug to the Abbvie regimen and will receive royalties on sales, are up 18% to $35.10.

Here are some tweets from Bloomberg reporter Drew Armstrong on the interview with Express Scripts' chief medical officer:




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