August 13, 2013
While the Fair Pricing Coalition (FPC) believes that all HIV drugs are priced too high, we are satisfied that ViiV Healthcare's WAC price for Tivicay (dolutegravir), its new integrase inhibitor, is $14,105 per year, $1,037 more than its nearest competitor. FPC member Lynda Dee states, "We believe we can declare a victory here since ViiV followed our request, pricing Tivicay very close to its nearest competitor. ViiV could have priced Tivicay much higher based on its efficacy and improved dosing indication."
Given that Tivicay has proven in clinical studies to be more tolerable than many preferred HIV drugs, as well as potentially more potent, and given that it is a oncedaily pill at a low enough dosage to support its inclusion in single tablet regimens, we are pleased that the lower than expected price will make it easier for public payers of HIV drugs, such as the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs to more quickly add Tivicay to their formularies.
FPC member David Evans notes, "ViiV could easily have followed the pernicious industry model of charging what the market will bear. While we are not condoning the exorbitant price of antiretroviral therapy, it is important to note that some other HIV companies have initially priced their new drugs with similar improvements much higher than their leading competitor."
The FPC also believes that it is important to recognize that cost savings from ViiV's set price for Tivicay, while small in the short term, could become substantial over time. Since it could have been priced much higher, savings to government and other third party payers will occur with every purchased prescription of Tivicay.
While the FPC believes all prescription drugs should be less expensive, this is not the reality in the United States. Thus, we believe it is important to applaud progress when it does occur. It is also important to note that this community‐industry partnership, which includes generous patient assistance programs that provide free drugs to people who cannot afford their medications, does not occur between industry and most other diseases. In this regard, we hope that, like other major HIV drug manufacturers, ViiV will expand its patient assistance program (PAP) for Tivicay and other products to those who have insurance, but who face considerable cost sharing for their medication, such as those with incomplete insurance coverage and those with Medicare Part D plans.