Sara White, Doctor of Pharmacy, Masters in Public Health and is the resident expert on drug pricing, generics and healthcare accessibility.
This article goes in to the most common types of hepatitis C treatment prescribed by liver doctors, the cure rates, where and how to order safely and securely.
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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 also go over the price difference of brand names like Harvoni, Epclusa, Sovaldi, Mavyret & Vosevi and their identical generics. (Identical in every way except price.)
You have heard, hep C meds are quite expensive for most Americans, unless you live in India.
Before we get in to the medicine and costs, lets look at what is the hepatitis C virus and treatments available today, so you can be cured.
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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 decades hep C has cost the 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 the therapy.
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.
Fast forward to 2013, the US FDA approves sofosbuvir for hepatitis C treatment.
Sofosbuvir is patented by Gilead Sciences and was released to the market as Sovaldi.
More than 60,000 patients in the US sought Sovaldi within the first 30 weeks of its release.
The New treatments for hepatitis C.
- 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?
The latest prices of hepatitis C treatments range from $26,400 to $94,500, Mavyret to Harvoni, respectively.
- 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 treatments with a high cure rate.
This could possibly explain why this medicine is so expensive.
Another reason why its expensive; high cure rates and low side effects.
Gilead Sciences, the inventor 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.
The average person with hep C is not able to pay the price of the meds.
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, your insurance company may help.
Then, you have to consider the copay of $10,000 to $38,000.
Some people go ahead and come with the copay and the HCV meds.
Others (most people) are scrambling looking for ways to get the copay down.
Or, they appeal the judgement several times until its favorable.
Approval rate for people with hepatitis C is only 23% for those with insurance.
Unfortunately, most fail in getting their insurance company to pay for it.
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.
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 patent expired.
- Cost of sofosbuvir 400mg ledipasvir 90mg (Harvoni) $24,000 for 12 weeks course and $48,000 for 24 weeks course.
- Cost of sofosbuvir 400mg velpatasvir 100mg (Epclusa) $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 authorized generics
- Provide Medicare/Medicaid patients a discount of $2,500 for each treatment
These generics, allow Gilead Sciences to compete with cheaper hepatitis C treatments currently in the marketplace.
Many of you may have heard on 60 Minutes, 20/20 and Fox news about low priced identical generics from India.
Bloomberg News and CNN aired a special report the cost of Harvoni tablet is $1125 in the US and in India its only a $10 a pill.
Why the huge price difference? (there are no good answers to this question)
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 $1,000 to $1,500.
This is well known in the US and European nations.
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 about $1000 and cost of Epclusa in India is $1500 , for 12 weeks regimen.
Sovaldi cost in India is $1000 for 84 days or 12 weeks of treatment.
Daklinza (daclatasvir) is around $800 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 three reasons:
- Established pharmaceutical industry & infrastructure since 1963
- Cost of manufacturing and labor is a lot lower than in the US or Europe
- Cost to make hep C meds ($36 per treatment) in large volume is not expensive
Since, the early 1960’s India has been manufacturing pharmaceuticals for Americans with FDA approved facilities.
All hepatitis C treatment manufacturing facilities are checked and approved by the FDA and Gilead Sciences.
Today, India manufactures 55% of all tablets and injectables that are in the US market.
Getting treatment for hepatitis C is not complicated.
It is very rare, especially nowadays, to not be cured from hep C.
If your insurance covers HCV treatment, don’t let them shoo you away.
Keep trying until you get the treatment.
But don’t wait until your liver is not doing well.
If you do not have insurance work with the 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 Harvoni, Sovaldi or Epclusa online.
Try to do research, talk to people and find out which is the best and safest method of getting your hepatitis C treatment.
Sunny Pharma in India is funded by Americans and American non profits to promote access to medication and healthcare that is safe and reliable for all people.
Please call our US number 1-858-952-1077, our hep C advocates 24/7 for more information.
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Hepatitis C Treatments:
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
Harvoni generic names:
- MyHep LIVR
- Hepcvir L
- Hepcinat LP
- Resof L
- Novisof L
- Cimivir L
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:
- 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
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.
*Sunny Pharma is a licensed pharmacy in India funded by Americans and American non profit organizations.
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No 1, 3rd G Main, Old Nilgiris Road Rammaiah Layout, 3rd E-F Cross Rd, Ramaiah Layout, Kacharakanahalli, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560084
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Medical disclaimer: Do not rely on SoulofHealing.org and SunnyPharma.info as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. Please consult with your physician for any and all medical treatment and medical care.