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How can I save money on my hepatitis C medications?

Answered by Gabriel Levitt, MA | Posted Marzo 22, 2019
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If you need hepatitis C medication, you may be wondering how you can lower the cost at the pharmacy counter. New hepatitis C medicines, such as Sovaldi, Harvoni, and Epclusa, are incredibly expensive. Below, we identify a few ways you can lower your medication bill so you can access the treatment you need and the financial relief you deserve.

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What is hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is an infection of the liver that is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The infection can vary from a mild illness with a duration of a few weeks to a serious, lifetime illness. hepatitis C is broken down into two types: acute and chronic.

Acute hepatitis C appears within the first six months after exposure to the hepatitis C virus. It can be a short-term illness, but cases of acute infection often result in chronic infection. Chronic hepatitis C occurs when the virus remains in your body after the acute infection period. It can cause serious health problems if left untreated. This can include liver damage, cancer of the liver, or even death.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 3.5 million Americans have hepatitis C. The CDC estimates the number of acute hepatitis C cases reached 41,200 in 2016.

The good news is that there are now medications – strong direct acting antivirals – that can often cure hepatitis C. The bad news is that they are astronomically expensive.

Hepatitis C treatments can cost patients and their providers over $200,000.

Generic Harvoni & Epclusa Availability and Possible Savings

Until recently, the best hepatitis C medicines were only available as a brand-name version.

Sovaldi

An innovative breakthrough drug, sofosbuvir, was introduced on the market in 2014 by drug company Gilead Sciences under the brand name Sovaldi. Its cost is $1,000 per pill, or $84,000 for a three-month treatment here in the U.S. With no generic version available in the U.S., Gilead left uninsured and even some insured American patients to ponder their money or their health, and even life. Thankfully, generic sofosbuvir is available in other countries. More on that below.

Harvoni & Epclusa Generics

Here in the U.S., Gilead has announced generics for two of these expensive brand medications, Harvoni and Epclusa.

The generic Harvoni is called ledipasvir/sofosbuvir, which is available as a 90 mg/400 mg tablet.

The generic Epclusa is called velpatasvir/sofosbuvir, available as 400 mg/100 mg tablet.

The new FDA-approved generics work exactly and as effectively as the brand-name versions, according to the FDA. You’ll notice that both contain the ingredient, sofosbuvir, along with a different additional ingredient. Drugs with two active pharmaceutical ingredients are called combination drugs.

Generic Epclusa and generic Harvoni are available at your local pharmacies, but they are still expensive. The most common course of treatment will still cost patients $24,000. The new generics are costly but they are considerably cheaper than brand name Harvoni ($94,500) and Epclusa ($74,760) for a 12-week course of therapy.

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Ways to cut costs on hepatitis C medications

Unfortunately, not all health insurance providers will cover these drugs. Most insurers do partially cover Sovaldi. It has an estimated monthly copay or coinsurance of $75-175. It’s important to check with insurance providers concerning specific drug coverage before moving on to search for alternatives.

Very few people can an afford to buy these new hepatitis C medications out-of-pocket. If you or your loved ones don’t have health coverage, here are some savings options.

Look into Sovaldi, Harvoni & Epclusa patient assistance programs

PharmacyChecker offers a search tool for patient assistance programs on our website. Many pharmaceutical companies offer aid with the cost of medications through patient assistance programs to which you can apply.

Talk to your doctor about drug prices

Ask your health care provider for an alternative prescription used for the same indication as ledipasvir/sofosbuvir or velpatasvir/sofosbuvir that your insurance plan may cover or is less expensive, such as alternative treatment for hepatitis C with Zepatier + ribavirin.

Use the PharmacyChecker Discount Card at local pharmacies

PharmacyChecker offers a discount card that you can use at independent pharmacies in your area or even Costco, CVS and Walgreens. To compare prices available on your prescribed medication and print the PharmacyChecker Discount Card to use at your local U.S. pharmacy, enter the drug name, your ZIP Code and prescribed strength here:

When you choose a pharmacy, click "GET DISCOUNT". Then, click "Print this Card" and you are all set to obtain your discount at the pharmacy of your choice.

You can do the same for all your prescription medicines here:

HCV Medication Savings through Online Pharmacies Located in Other Countries

Ledipasvir/sofosbuvir is legally manufactured and available for sale in other countries and can be purchased from verified online pharmacies. You can search verified pharmacies that list prices on PharmacyChecker.com. Patients can find 90/400 mg ledipasvir/sofosbuvir as low as $13.57 per tablet at a verified international pharmacy by comparing prices on PharmacyChecker.com.

That's a 95% discount vs. ledipasvir/sofosbuvir sold in the U.S.

Velpatasvir/sofosbuvir is also available to order online from verified online pharmacies. You can find 400/100 mg velpatasvir/sofosbuvir as low as $17.26 per tablet at a verified international pharmacy by comparing prices on our website.

That's a 94% discount vs. velpatasvir/sofosbuvir sold in the U.S.

Generic Sovaldi is also available to order online from verified online pharmacies. You can find 400 mg sofosbuvir (Generic Sovaldi) as low as $10.68 per tablet at a verified international pharmacy by comparing prices on our website.

That's a 99.6% discount vs. Sovaldi sold in the U.S.

 

Where are my hepatitis C medications manufactured?

Packaging of Harvoni 90 mg/400 mg sold in the United States shows that it is made in Ireland.

Packaging of Epclusa sold in the United States shows that it is also manufactured in Ireland.

Packaging of Sovaldi sold in the United States shows that it is also manufactured in Ireland.

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Do you have questions or concerns regarding ordering your medications online? We’re here to help.

Comment below or ask a question by logging in to My PharmacyChecker.

Updated Marzo 23, 2020

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