Express Scripts to shift coverage away from pricey hepatitis C drugs like Sovaldi

Associated Press

The nation's largest pharmacy benefits manager is throwing its weight into a fight over the high cost of treating hepatitis C, saying it will cover a drug from AbbVie while pulling back on those from rival drugmakers.

The treatments traditionally can run close to $100,000 per patient.

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Express Scripts says it will no longer cover Sovaldi and Harvoni from Gilead Sciences or Johnson & Johnson's Olysio starting Jan. 1, except under limited circumstances. AbbVie's Viekira Pak, approved only Friday, will become the preferred treatment for patients who have genotype 1 hepatitis C, the most common form of the liver-destroying virus.

The three drugs that will no longer be covered are part of a wave of effective but expensive treatments that hit the market in the past year.