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Gilead raises prices on top-selling HIV treatments

  • Gilead Sciences raised list prices by 4.9% on more than a dozen drugs Saturday, including the bulk of its best-selling HIV medications, the biotech confirmed to BioPharma Dive.
  • The 14 drugs accounted for roughly three-quarters of Gilead’s total product sales last year. Among those include six HIV medicines that each surpassed $1 billion in 2018 sales.
  • The rate of increase is less than previous years, which came in at 6.9% for 2018 and 2017, according to Piper Jaffary analyst Tyler Van Buren. “This likely reflects the push for lower drug pricing, and to some extent, pressure from the Trump Drug Pricing Blueprint,” Van Buren wrote in a March 17 note to investors.

Gilead hopes revenues will stabilize in 2019, after three consecutive years of net sales declines. The Foster City, California-based biotech has predicted its sales could shrink around 2% or grow up to 0.5% this year. 

The price increases follow some high-level executive change-ups earlier this month, with Daniel O’Day officially starting as CEO on March 1 and Alessandro Riva announcing an April departure from his role as Gilead’s head of oncology.

The HIV market is a core place for growth, with Gilead’s drugs account for a majority share against rival GlaxoSmithKline. Van Buren wrote in his March 17 note that he expects Gilead’s top HIV drugs to grow by about 15% in 2019.

A Gilead spokesperson credited the company’s price increases to “the rising costs of goods and services necessary to produce groundbreaking medicines.”

“This increase is lower than the standard measure of health care inflation, based on an independent estimate of growth in health expenditures, and is lower than price increases in previous years,” the spokesperson wrote in an email to BioPharma Dive.

Overall, Gilead’s actions fit the emerging trend in list price increases for the pharma and biotech industries — fewer hikes at lower rates than years past, but focused on strategically important products.

For instance, the average price increase across the industry in January 2019 was about 6%, down from roughly 8% last year and 12% in 2014, according to an analysis published in February by Raymond James.

The bulk of Gilead’s recent price hikes were on top-selling HIV medications like Genvoya and Truvada, though they also included some hepatitis B medicines, along with a few others.

DrugTherapeutic area2018 net sales
GenvoyaHIV$4.62 billion
TruvadaHIV$3.00 billion
OdefseyHIV$1.60 billion
DescovyHIV$1.58 billion
AtriplaHIV$1.21 billion
BiktarvyHIV$1.18 billion
LetairisPulmonary arterial hypertension$943 million
RanexaChronic angina$758 million
CompleraHIV$653 million
StribildHIV$644 million
VemlidyChronic HBV$321 million
VireadChronic HBV$307 million
ZydeligOncology$133 million
HepseraHepatitis BNot listed