Sara White, Doctor of Pharmacy, Masters in Public Health and is the resident expert on drug pricing, generics and healthcare accessibility.
Call us 24/7 at our San Diego, California number 858-952-1077
10 minute read
Because you are here, you want to learn about the most prescribed hepatitis C (HCV) treatments, both brand names and authorized generics.
We’ll go over the price difference of brand names like Harvoni, Epclusa, Sovaldi, Daklinza, Mavyret & Vosevi and their identical generics. (Identical molecular compound, except price.)
You may have heard, hep C meds are quite expensive for most Americans and Europeans, unless you happen to live in India.
Let’s go ahead and take a look at the best new treatments that are available today for your cure.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV)
Hepatitis C virus causes inflammation, scarring and cancer of the liver if not treated.
HCV was discovered and identified only in 1989.
Prior to 1989 it was always called non A and non B.
Meaning it was not hepatitis A nor hepatitis B. (nobody knew what it was)
Worst thing about hep C is that it is highly infectious and is and will continue to be a big public health risk.
Over the past several decades hep C has cost American tax payers billions of dollars in care and treatment.
Before new hep C treatments (direct acting antivirals) were invented, there were only interferon injection and ribavirin treatment options.
Majority of the patients could not handle the severe side effects of interferon and ribavirin.
As expected most patients would just give up on this treatment.
Unfortunately, this treatment also had a low cure rate.
Enter the new chapter of hepatitis C treatments, direct acting antivirals or DAAs
What are the treatments for hepatitis C in 2020?
With the advancement of biotechnology in the 1990’s and 2000’s, there was a major breakthrough in 2007.
Sofosbuvir (soe-FOS-bue-vir) was invented.
A medicine that blocks a protein (NS5B) that is responsible for the hep C virus from replicating.
If this sounds pretty complicated, it is.
We are just happy it works!
Fast forward to 2013, the US FDA approves sofosbuvir for hepatitis C treatment.
Sofosbuvir is patented by Gilead Sciences and was launched in the US as Sovaldi.
More than 60,000 patients in the US sought Sovaldi within the first 30 weeks of its release.
At the same time, India began manufacturing the approved Gilead licensed generic version for poor countries.
What are the new treatments for hepatitis C?
Most of the new hepatitis C treatments have sofosbuvir as the main ingredient.
- Sovaldi (sofosbuvir 400mg)
- Harvoni (ledipasvir 90mg sofosbuvir 400mg)
- Epclusa (velpatasvir 100mg sofosbuvir 400mg)
- Daklinza (daclatasvir)
- Mavyret (glecaprevir 100mg pibrentasvir 40mg)
- Technivie (ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir)
- Zepatier (elbasvir 50mg grazoprevir 100mg)
- Vosevi (voxilaprevir 100mg velpatasvir 100mg sofosbuvir 400mg)
How much does it cost for hepatitis C treatment?
Prices of hepatitis C treatments are pretty high, and start at $26,400 for the least expensive treatment.
- Cost of Harvoni $94,500 – 12 weeks of treatment and $189,000 for 24 weeks of treatment
- Cost of Epclusa $78,078 – 12 weeks of treatment
- Cost of Sovaldi $84,000 – 12 weeks of treatment and $168,000 for 24 weeks of treatment
- Cost of Mavyret $26,400 – 8 weeks of treatment
- Cost of Zepatier $54,600 – 12 weeks of treatment
- Cost of Technivie $76,653 – 12 weeks of treatment
- Cost of Vosevi $78,078 – 12 weeks of treatment
Pharmaceutical companies have spent billions of dollars on research and development.
It took years to come up with this type of hep C treatment with a high cure rate.
This could possibly explain why this medicine is so expensive.
Another reason maybe why its expensive; high cure rates of 95% to 99% and low side effects.
Gilead Sciences, the manufacturer of the medicine priced it cheaper than a liver transplant.
Liver transplant in the US is about $577,000 to $750,000.
Pay a big price now, so you don’t have to pay bigger price for a liver transplant.
As a daughter of an amazing father who had hepatitis C, I don’t agree with this logic. Sorry.
The average person with hep C is not able to pay for the medicine or a liver transplant.
Most people are not happy about it, even if your insurance may or may not cover it.
What is the cost with insurance?
Most insurers do not cover hep C treatments like Harvoni, Sovaldi, Epclusa, Daklinza, Mavyret and others.
Two reasons for this:
- Cost of the HCV treatment is very very expensive
- Not “medically necessary” until liver failure
If you are one of the exceptions (you are lucky), your insurance company may help.
Then, you have to consider the copay of $10,000 to $38,000.
Some people go ahead and come up with a copay so they can afford the treatment.
Others (most people) are scrambling looking for ways to reduce the copay or even eliminate it.
Or, they appeal their insurance company to approve the medication.
Unfortunately, getting your treatment approved is only 23% for those with insurance.
As a result we get a ton of emails regularly asking “I’ve been denied by my insurance, can you help me get my hepatitis C treatment.”
What if you don’t have insurance?
Those without insurance, have a few options.
All hepatitis C drug manufacturers have a website to apply to get treatment free of cost.
Remember, to do more digging online.
Sooner or later you will find a good source to get your treatment paid for or get it at a lower price.
You may even be the uber lucky person and get it for FREE.
So far, you have read about the history of HCV, new treatments (DAAs) and their costs.
Now, we are going to dive in to generic hep C drugs.
What are authorized generics?
Gilead Sciences decided to put out the generics of Harvoni and Epclusa 10 to 15 years early before their patents expired.
- Cost of sofosbuvir 400mg ledipasvir 90mg, a generic of Harvoni, is $24,000 for 12 weeks course and $48,000 for 24 weeks course.
- Cost of sofosbuvir 400mg velpatasvir 100mg, a generic of Epclusa, is $24,000 for 12 weeks course.
There are three reasons for the availability of hep C generics:
- Competition (Abbvie’s Mavyret) is selling for $26,400
- Increase sales (revenue & profits) from licensing out more authorized generics to India.
- Provide Medicare/Medicaid patients a discount of $2,500 for each treatment (unfortunately this doesn’t add up to any real cost savings).
The generics, allow Gilead Sciences to compete with cheaper hepatitis C treatments currently in the marketplace.
Many of you probably watched on 60 Minutes, 20/20 and Fox news about low priced identical generics from India that are fraction of the cost.
Bloomberg News and CNN aired a special report the cost of Harvoni tablet is $1125 in the US and in India its less than $10 a pill.
Why the huge price difference?
The best answer we have found is Gilead Sciences paid about $11.2 billion dollars for Pharmasset Inc, the company that invented sofosbuvir, the main ingredient in Sovaldi, Epclusa, Harvoni and Vosevi.
Gilead had to recoup their multi billion dollar investment.
Which they certainly did.
Gilead made $48 billion dollars from 2015 to 2019 from selling hepatitis C medicine.
Only drawback to making such a good profit is, many state health budgets went bust and quite a high number of patients could not afford hep C treatments.
Also, many died due to liver failure before they could be approved for treatment.
We are going to put those days behind us, because there is no genuine excuse in getting cured for hepatitis C.
In the following section we will discover why Harvoni price in India or Epclusa price in India is much lower than in the US.
What about the generics from India?
Hep C treatment cost in India is around $675 depending on how long your doctor recommends treatment.
This is well known by most Americans and Europeans.
India has been manufacturing hepatitis C generics since 2014, with the approval of Gilead Sciences and the FDA.
Many newspapers around the country (USA), reported in 2014, the cost of Harvoni in India is $675 and cost of Epclusa in India is $675 , for 12 weeks treatment.
Sovaldi cost in India is $495 for 84 days or 12 weeks of treatment.
Sovaldi and Daklinza (daclatasvir) is $595 for a 12 week course.
Why are hepatitis C treatments so cheap in India?
Hepatitis C generic treatments are a lot less in India for 3 very important reasons:
- India has an established pharmaceutical industry & infrastructure since 1963
- Cost of manufacturing and labor is considerably lower than in the US or Europe
- Cost to make hep C meds in large volume is not expensive
Since, the early 1960’s India has been providing the American people with affordable medicine at a fraction of the cost.
All hepatitis C treatment manufacturing facilities are checked and approved by the US FDA and Gilead Sciences.
Today, India manufactures 55% of all tablets and injections that are in the US market.
What is the takeaway?
Getting treatment for hepatitis C is not complicated.
It is very rare, especially nowadays, to not be cured from hep C (HCV).
If your insurance covers HCV treatment, don’t let them shoo you away.
Keep trying until you get approved for treatment.
At the same time, don’t wait until you start to experience liver failure.
The meds to cure hep C are so affordable now!
There is no excuse, you can be hepatitis C free in 8 weeks to 12 weeks, that’s it.
If you do not have insurance work with the drug manufacturers to get discounted or even FREE hep C treatment.
Try to stay positive during this process (this is a must).
It is challenging, we have gone through this ourselves.
Last option is to order generic Harvoni, generic Sovaldi or generic Epclusa online from Sunny Pharma.
Just do not give up, exhaust all resources until you get your treatment and clear the virus.
You will fell so much happier and more energetic.
Your body, mind and liver will thank you for it.
Please call our San Diego, California, USA number 1-858-952-1077, our hep C advocates 24/7 for more information.
Sunny Pharma is founded by American families and physicians to promote access to treatment and healthcare that is safe and affordable for all.
Soul of Healing Trust is funded by American physicians to subsidize medicine, treatment and healthcare for all people.
Hepatitis C Treatments
Generic Harvoni (sofosbuvir 400mg ledipasvir 90mg)
Patent holder – Gilead Sciences
Manufacturer – Gilead Sciences, Asegua Therapeutics, Dr. Reddys, Ranbaxy, Abbot, Natco, Mylan, Cipla and more.
Distribution – Local pharmacies, online pharmacies, hospital pharmacies
Strength – 90mg ledipasvir and 400mg sofosbuvir
Hepatitis C virus genotypes – 1, 4, 5 or 6
Harvoni generic name:
All Gilead licensed Harvoni generic names are created and marketed by the Indian pharmaceutical companies. Often times they are not creative, they usually will have hepatitis C, Ledipasvir or Sofosbuvir in their names.
- MyHep LIVR
- Hepcvir L
- Hepcinat LP
- Resof L
- Novisof L
- Cimivir L
Generic Harvoni Dosage & administration:
- once a day tablet taken orally for 84 days (12 weeks).
- Some people, based on the viral load test, are prescribed only 56 days of treatment from their liver doctor.
Most common side effects of generic Harvoni:
- physical weakness
- shortness of breath
- muscle pain
*If you experience any severe allergic reaction to this medication, please call 911 or your physician immediately.
Generic Sovaldi is made of sofosbuvir 400mg and is once a day tablet taken orally for 84 days or 12 weeks.
May also require weight based ribavirin.
Successfully treats patients with genotypes 1 or 4.
It can be used with weight based ribavirin, interferon and Daklinza.
Please consult with your doctor before starting Sovaldi or sofosbuvir 400mg.
Generic Epclusa is made of velpatasvir 100mg and sofosbuvir 400mg and is once a day tablet taken orally for 84 days or 12 weeks.
May also require weight based ribavirin.
Successfully treats patients with genotypes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6.
The first pan (cure all) genotype medicine for hepatitis C.
Please consult with your doctor before starting Epclusa.
Fill the form below to be cured of hepatitis C within 12 weeks.