Taking a highly aggressive decision in price negotiations with pharma companies, America’s largest manager of prescription drug plans, Express Scripts, on Monday said that it has aligned a cheaper price for the newly-certified hepatitis C drug by AbbVie Inc and will no longer be continuing with Gilead Sciences Inc’s rival treatments.
This is the most insistent move by Express Scripts over price war after it won discounts on drugs and medications with a strategy introduced in 2013.
Express Scripts said that it has given much time to Gilead Sciences Inc’s medications by trying it for nearly a year to win a deeper discount but now it is no longer interested to continue with Gilead.
The move may adversely impact Gilead’s profits, said the market analysts. The experts further said that the move by Express Scripts may hurt other major biotechnology players, like Biogen Inc and Amgen Inc, as they will face unreasonable pricing pressure from their insurers. Other drug makers like Novo Nordisk, Shire Plc and Theravance Inc, having no potentially transformative new products, are also expected to witness the vulnerabilities of Express Scripts’ decision, analysts added.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Steve Miller had earlier this month said that Express Scripts will be further expanding its list of medicines that it won’t be cover for 2016, such as medications for common illnesses including pulmonary hypertension, diabetes and arthritis.
Miller is expecting that Express Scripts could drop coverage for other newer specialty medications in the field of biotechnology. But the actual timing of the disassociation on specific drugs will majorly depend on when new competing medicines with similar clinical benefits are given green signal for the US market.
With removal of 44 medications, Express Scripts started excluding drugs from its fat list of national reimbursement for this year. Later, it increased that number to 66 for next year.
Meanwhile, the Gilead shares declined more than 14 percent to USD 92.90 in trading on Monday. The shares of Celgene, Biogen and Amgen dripped more than two percent.