May 6, 2019

The rise and fall of hepatitis C drug sales

Source: Company filings; Chart: Axios Visuals 

Three years ago, Gilead Sciences was generating record sales and profits on the back of its hepatitis C pills. Now, Gilead's medicines are playing second fiddle to a competitor, and the drug that started it all, Sovaldi, has been relegated to a footnote.

The big picture: Gilead's drugs were a major reason why pharmaceutical spending shot up in 2014 and 2015, as patients flocked to the high-priced pills that cure the disease for a vast majority of people. Sales have gone down considerably, due to competing drugs and restrictive insurance coverage, even though a large number of hepatitis C patients remain untreated.

Between the lines: AbbVie has been the leading hepatitis C drugmaker for 2 consecutive quarters, as its Mavyret medicine has outsold Gilead's options, led by Epclusa and Harvoni.

  • Gilead is still projected to collect roughly $3 billion in sales this year from its hepatitis C drugs, but that's a far cry from when it was getting almost $5 billion per quarter from hepatitis C drugs in 2015.
  • Merck remains far behind AbbVie and Gilead in the market, even though it cut the price of Zepatier by 60% last year.

What we're watching: Whether more state Medicaid programs follow Louisiana and adopt a subscription approach to purchasing hepatitis C medications.

Go deeper: Inmates with hepatitis C aren't getting the medicine.

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America's future looks a lot like Nevada

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Today's Nevada caucus will foreshadow the future of American politics well beyond 2020.

Why it matters: The U.S. is in the midst of a demographic transformation, and the country's future looks a lot like Nevada's present. Today's results, in addition to shaping the 2020 race, will help tell us where politics is headed in a rapidly changing country.

Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and U.S. ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. Meanwhile, Italy reported its first virus-related death on Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,359 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 14 hours ago - Health