Despite concerns, Express Scripts sticks with AbbVie's hep C therapy
- Despite a warning from the FDA last week that AbbVie's VieKira Pak is associated with increased risk of serious liver injury, Express Scripts has confirmed its commitment to maintaining availability of VieKira Pak instead of switching to Gilead's hepatitis C medications.
- In December 2014, Express Scripts, the largest pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) in the U.S., snubbed Gilead in favor of AbbVie, in order to obtain a better price.
- There has been speculation that Express Scripts might drop VieKira Pak because of the increased risk of severe adverse events.
Last week, the FDA warned about the increased risk of serious liver injury associated with VieKira Pak, specifically hepatic decompensation and liver failure in patients with liver cirrhosis who take VieKira Pak therapy. Considering the fact that 15% to 30% of hepatitis C-infected individuals develop cirrhosis within 20 years, this potentially puts a lot of people at risk.
The FDA is now requiring AbbVie to include warnings about the liver injury risk associated with VieKira Pak. Nonetheless, Express Scripts has decided to maintain the status quo, at least for now.