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Reported by Jules Levin
  Today, Roche Pharma is announcing the price they are charging for their brand of ribavirin called Copegus. Roche is announcing that the wholesale (WAC) price will be 43% less than the wholesale price of the Chering brand of ribavirin called Rebetol. Copegus is being shipped to retail pharmacies today and the next few days and is expected to be available in the pharmacy by the end of the week. Roche officials say the Copegus wholesale price is $5.06 per 200 mg tablet compared to the Rebetol wholesale price of $8.83 per 200 mg tablet. For a patient receiving 48 weeks therapy of Pegasys with 1200mg of Copegus daily the cost will be $24,000 at wholesale price. This is an example because overall cost depends on the duration of therapy, 6 or 12 months, and the dosage of ribavirin used--which can be 800, 1000, or 1200 mg per day. Roche will issue a press reslease later today.
Most ADAP state programs are not covering HCV therapy. And there are gaps in Medicaid coverage for HCV therapy and diagnostic testing required to treat HCV-infected individuals. Universal access to treatment and diagnostic testing including access through private insurers (HMOs) is crucial to treating individuals with HCV. HCV and associated liver disease appears to be the leading cause of death in HIV today.
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