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.]