(Bloomberg) – House Democrats want to know how Gilead Sciences Inc. set the $84,000 price for a standard course of treatment with Solvadi, a new hepatitis C drug.
The lawmakers also asked Gilead Chief Executive Officer John Martin to explain what is being done to make sure the medicine gets into the hands of low-income patients, especially in government-run health programs.
“Our concern is that a treatment will not cure patients if they cannot afford it,” Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., and Diana DeGette, D-Colo., wrote in a letter to Martin. The lawmakers asked Gilead to brief Congress by April 3.
The drugmaker said it will meet with Waxman and the other members of Congress.
“We had heard the concerns raised in the letter and had reached out to a number of members of Congress prior to this letter to address those concerns,” Gilead said in a statement. “We have been working with a number of stakeholders, including federal and state officials, to share the scientific and medical evidence.”
Gilead’s drug was approved last year as a breakthrough treatment for viral liver infection. The medicine offers higher cure rates and fewer side effects than older treatments.