SEPTA Sues Drug Maker Over $1,000-a-Pill Hep C Drug

SEPTA has paid $2.4 million for Sovaldi, a Hepatitis C wonder drug, since its introduction a year ago. A lawsuit says Gilead is price gouging.

SEPTA has sued the drugmaker Gilead over the price of its Hepatitis C drug Sovaldi, which costs about $1,000 a pill — or $84,000 for a standard treatment.

The lawsuit says the 12-week treatment costs only $900 in Egypt. Gilead also recently cut a deal to sell generic Sovaldi, sofosbuvir, in 91 developing countries. The lawsuit says the Federal Bureau of Prisons also receives massive discounts on the Hep C drug. Gilead has made $5.7 billion selling Sovaldi this year already, about half its revenue.

SEPTA is seeking a judgment that Gilead has engaged in price discrimination, as well as monetary restitution. The transit agency is suing because it is a “third party payor” of its employees’ health care costs; SEPTA has paid $2.4 million for Sovaldi since the drug came out.

“This is not a reasonable profit, this is price gauging and this is something that has got to stop,” Nick Chimicles, a lawyer representing SEPTA, told NBC 10.

Sovaldi, which came out a year ago, is an effective treatment for Hepatitis C. It cures about 90 percent of patients with a common form of Hep C in three to six months. Between about three and five million people have Hep C.

SEPTA Lawsuit v. Gilead