Transit agency sues Gilead over pricing of hepatitis C drug

Gilead Sciences

The lawyers for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, or SEPTA, announced on Wednesday that they have filed a lawsuit against Gilead Sciences challenging the "exorbitant pricing" of its hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi.

The release from Philadelphia's transit agency said that Gilead has been selling a 12-week dose of Sovaldi in the United States for about $84,000, or $1,000 a pill, far above its price in other countries and the original projected price.

The pharmaceuticals company has had $8.5 billion in sales of the drug through the first three quarters of this year, the release added.

Gilead told CNBC in an emailed statement that it had "just received the complaint and therefore [has] no comment at this time."

This summer, the Senate Finance Committee sent a letter to Gilead questioning the rationale for setting such a high price, as the expensive drug will have an impact on Medicare, Medicaid and other federal programs.

"That price appears to be higher than expected given the costs of development and production and the steep discounts offered in other countries," the committee said in a July release.

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SEPTA has spent at least $2.4 million on the drug this year for members of the health plans it funds for employees and retirees, Dow Jones reported, citing the lawsuit.