$1,000-a-pill Sovaldi jolts US health care system

By Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar, Associated Press | Posted - Jun. 17, 2014 at 12:01 p.m.



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WASHINGTON (AP) — The latest pill for hepatitis C sounds like a difficult choice.

Sovaldi cures the liver-wasting illness in 9 of 10 patients, but treatment can cost more than $90,000.

Leading medical societies recommend Sovaldi. Patients clamor for it. But insurance companies and state Medicaid programs are gagging on the price. Officials in one state are proposing to limit how many low-income patients can get Sovaldi.

Yet a new pricing survey indicates that if Sovaldi didn't exist, insurers would still be paying in the mid-to-high five figures to treat the most common kind of hepatitis C.

And some of the older alternatives they would be buying expose patients to more side effects, and are less likely to be a cure.

So it's not that easy to say what a fair price should be.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar

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