Monday, May 23, 2011

Vertex To Offer Assistance For $49,200 Incivek® 12-Week Hep C Regimen

Many pundits are now reporting that Incivek® will be priced at $49,200 per 12 week dosing regimen. [As the market closed, Vertex filed an SEC Form 8-K -- Current Report, on the same topic.]

Smartly -- for its part, Vertex has already announced a few generous patient assistance programs -- one of which applies regardless of US household income level, viz:

. . . .Free Medicine Program: Vertex gives Incivek® for free to people who do not have insurance and have an annual household income of $100,000 or less; and Co-Pay Support: Vertex covers co-pay or co-insurance costs up to 20% of the total cost of Incivek for people who have private insurance plans that cover Incivek, regardless of their household income. . . .

So -- the premium price is all Vertex. Merck has offered a discount on price, even below its relatively lower efficacy, in hopes of "buying" lower-income (and lower insurance level) market share. We shall see, but this Vertex assistance program is likely to blunt that move. Now, let the games begin!

[More seriously, it is an important moment in history when we can announce the "cure" of a previously incurable condition. Today marks that day. Heady stuff, for the approximately 3 million known Hep C sufferers in the US (and another million or so who are antibody positive) -- and perhaps 170 to 200 million sufferers in total, around the globe, today. And that US antibody-positive figure is likely to triple over time, once routine testing becomes more commonplace (not just upon the occasion a potential blood donation, or blood infection suspicions) -- with a cure in hand, doctors will be more likely to test for these markers of a Hep C infection.]


Anonymous said...

Lets see Merck's drug will be at discount, is very effective, has no sig. side effects and has the Roche force behind it with the other two drugs. Docs can get everything they need in one shipment at lower cost.

Vertex is "slightly" more potent, is 1.5 times more expensive and may cause severe rashes in up to 5% of users. The rashes can lead to a treatment halt for up to 6 months.

I know what I would use!

Condor said...

Actually, Anon. . . .

Merck's drug -- for a roughly equivalent SVR (cure) level (i.e., a longer regimen) will cost $48,000 -- compared to $49,200 for Vertex's Incivek.

So -- I wouldn't be so sure. I see it breaking 80-20 Vertex's way within a year, once the US launch shenanigans shake out.

Namaste -- and do stop back!

Anonymous said...

Roche specialists vs Vertex "small sales force". Wonder how that will go!

condor said...

I think Incivek's efficacy will win the day -- after the launch hoopla settles out -- in early 2012.

Look for Vertex to shine.


Anonymous said...

Vertex seems to have an up hill battle getting boots on the ground, while Roche has seasoned Hep C sales force already dealing with docs.