Medical groups question price of new hep C drug

An innovative hepatitis C drug that was only recently hailed as a breakthrough treatment is facing skepticism from some health care experts, as they consider whether it is worth the $1,000-a-pill price set by manufacturer Gilead Sciences.

A panel of California medical experts voted Monday that Gilead's Sovaldi represents a "low value" treatment when compared with older drugs for the blood borne virus. The vote was part of a broader review of new hepatitis C drugs by the California Technology Assessment Forum. The insurer-affiliated group assesses the and effectiveness of new medical treatments.

The group estimates that replacing currently used hepatitis C drugs with Gilead's Sovaldi would raise California drug costs between $18 billion and $29 billion per year. The drug costs $84,000 for one 12-week course of treatment.

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