On Feb. 24th, 2014 Gilead Sciences announced $55,000 Canadian pricing for its sofosbuvir (SOVALDI™) treatment which is significantly lower than the $84,000 that is being quoted for the USA, and actively opposed by patient advocacy groups there: 

“Gilead Sciences Canada Inc. is committed to ensuring the best possible market access for HCV patients who would benefit from treatment with Sovaldi. As such, a 12-week course of treatment with Sovaldi will be $55,000 CDN reflecting overall regimen parity with currently-approved protease inhibitor-based triple therapy.” 

NOTE: this amount does not include the cost of other HCV medications such as interferon, ribavirin, or simeprevir with which it is currently being combined, depending on patient’s genotype or other factors. This treatment is currently only available to Canadians who are able to purchase it with private insurance or their own funding, pending provincial approvals which may take another year or more. HepCBC is working with other groups to press for expediting approval of this and other life-saving HCV drugs in Canada.

On Feb. 27, 2014 sofosbuvir (SOVALDI™ ) received a revised date of July 16, 2014 for its critical Canadian Drug Expert Committee (CDEC) hearing. This hearing, which was originally scheduled for March, 2014 was re-queued under a new policy to Oct./Nov. 2014. The new July 16 re-scheduling appears to set a precedent for queuing life-saving drugs into the CDEC hearings over those of less urgent medical value.

As the CADTH website explains, “As part of CADTH’s Common Drug Review (CDR) process, CDEC makes recommendations to each of the participating federal, provincial, and territorial publicly funded drug plans regarding the listings on their formularies. It also makes recommendations related to the identification, evaluation, and promotion of optimal drug prescribing and use in Canada.”

Many individuals and groups have been pushing CADTH/CDR/CDEC to change the new queuing policy to accommodate situations such as that of the new, life-saving hepatitis C drugs moving through the approval pipeline. HepCBC welcomes this CADTH response, hoping it is a signal  CADTH/CDR/CDEC is becoming more aware of and responsive to valid patient concerns.