A new report, “Comparison of Hepatitis C Treatment Costs,” shows Hepatitis C drug prices, specifically negotiated by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) in Medicare Part D in 2015, were typically lower than prices in Europe and Japan.

The report, conducted independently by IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics and commissioned by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA), focuses on two drugs, Sovaldi and Harvoni, and finds that of the seven major industrialized countries, only Italy had lower average net costs than Part D for a typical 12-week course of Hepatitis C medication, however, Italy had a lower treatment rate than the U.S.

“According to this comparison, conventional wisdom has underestimated the ability of large, sophisticated, private-sector payers to reduce costs and improve access to high cost drugs,” said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt.

The proportion of infected people who receive Hepatitis C treatment in Part D was in-line with the average treatment rate for other countries examined in the study. But unlike Part D, both drug prices and access to treatments have been determined through government mechanisms in other countries.

Key facts in the new study include:

  • Of the seven countries analyzed, only Italy had a lower average net cost than the United States for a 12-week course of Hepatitis C drug treatment, but Italy had a far lower treatment rate.
  • At $50,400, the net U.S. price per course of treatment for Harvoni was below the net price in France, Japan, Spain, Germany, and the U.K. in 2015.
  • Net prices in the U.S. for Sovaldi were below the European average price of $45,055.
  • Average discounts on Hepatitis C medications were 15-20% off list prices in the countries examined, except in the U.S. where discounts of 45-55% were been disclosed for Sovaldi and Harvoni.
  • The Medicare Part D program accounted for about half of estimated U.S. prevalence and treatment volume for Hepatitis C in 2015.