Health insurers under investigation over Hepatitits C treatment and drug coverage
Mar 03, 2016 10:46 PM EST
The office of New York state attorney General Eric Schneiderman has asked 16 health insurers for documentation. This is in relation to the patients who have been denied drug coverage to cure hepatitis C virus.
The subpoenas have been issued by the Attorney General's office to health companies including Aetna Inc., CareConnect and EmblemHealth Inc.The office requested details on the procedures done by these companies to authorize drug use in treating the disease. The initial subpoenas are aimed at asking information about a hepatitis C drug known as Harvoni, as per Reuters.
According to the Business Insider, Gilead Sciences dominated the market with its leading drugs Harvoni and Sovaldi for the treatment of the disease. Harvoni's total sales reached up to $13.86 billion in 2015.
The drug was said to cure hepatitis C in just 12 weeks and was priced at around $84,000 per course of the treatment. Companies like AbbVie and Zepatier also manufactured their own drug for the disease.
The Massachusetts attorney general however, asked the biotechnology company to lower the cost of the treatment and reconsider the pricing of Savoldi and Harvoni. The US Senate Special Committee has started a series of investigation to know the reasons behind the sudden drug price increase.
As reported by Bloomberg, Anthem, a company that operates the Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance company, expanded its coverage of the hepatitis drug treatment. According to Jill Becher, the company's spokesperson, after several months of ongoing clinical review of the medical evidence and safety concerns surrounding the disease treatment, the coverage for Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield employer and individual health plans was expanded from six of the new oral treatment which started December 7 of last year.
Other companies like Aetna, CareConnect, Gilead and EmblemHealth were not available to give their comments regarding the issue.