(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.
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“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.