Today Bristol-Myers Squibb announced their decision to pull out of the hepatitis C drug race. We were expecting to see a combination therapy from Bristol-Myers in December or early 2015. Gilead, the manufacturer of Sovaldi and another Sovaldi combination therapy expected to hit the market in the next few days or weeks, is going strong. AbbVie and Merck continue to work hard on their own hepatitis C combination therapies.
With Bristol-Myers pulling out, we have one less hepatitis C drug manufacturer competing for patients in 2015. While Bristol-Myers’ drug was aimed at a very specific genotype, fewer manufacturers in the mix may mean less price competition. This could result in higher prices for plan sponsors in 2015. As always, Lockton will continue to monitor the situation.