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Reuters Health Information: Gilead hepatitis C drug Sovaldi racks up $3.5 bln in quarter

Gilead hepatitis C drug Sovaldi racks up $3.5 bln in quarter

Last Updated: 2014-07-23

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) - Gilead Sciences Inc said on Wednesday that its new hepatitis C drug Sovaldi had sales of $3.5 billion in the second quarter, exceeding Wall Street estimates and demonstrating that the furor over its price has not curtailed early use.

Analysts had been forecasting Sovaldi sales of about $2.6 to $2.9 billion for the quarter.

In its first two industry record shattering full quarters on the market, Sovaldi has racked up about $5.8 billion in sales despite reports that thousands of patients are still waiting in the wings for Gilead's two drugs in one pill, once a day combination treatment expected to gain U.S. approval this year.

Since its December launch, Sovaldi has been prescribed for more than 80,000 patients in the United States and Europe, the company said.

Sovaldi has been a lightning rod for a fierce debate over prescription drug prices. Its $84,000 cost for a 12-week course of treatment that works out to $1,000 per pill has caused concerns that high demand will place a huge burden on government-run health plans and private health insurers.

Gilead has argued that the Sovaldi price is comparable to older treatment options that require longer treatment duration with far lower cure rates and nasty side effects than its medicine.

Gilead, which had not included Sovaldi sales in prior full-year forecasts, updated its outlook to include the impact of the new medicine. It now expects 2014 revenue of $21 billion to $23 billion. Without Sovaldi, it had forecast sales of $11.3 billion to $11.5 billion.



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