J&J offers government payer hep. C guarantee

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Johnson & Johnson is offering Scotland's National Health Service an Olysio money-back-guarantee of sorts. BioCentury Extra reports that the drugmaker has proposed reimbursing the patient cost for those who are not cured after 12 weeks of treatment with Olysio (simeprevir).

BioCentury says Olysio with peginterfron and ribavirin costs between $48,783 and $51,562 per year, and an Olysio plus Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) regimen with or without ribavirin runs between $92,272 and $93,760 per year.

NHS has not said whether it will take the company up on its offer, but BioCentury notes that the drugmaker is also covering the cost of blood tests that would help identify patients who are most likely to benefit from the NS3/4A protease inhibitor.

Olysio was a strong third-quarter performer, contributing $796 million to the J&J's earnings, but last week's approval of Gilead's sofosbuvir-ledipasvir combination drug Harvoni may have altered the drug's sales potential. Goldman Sachs analyst Jami Rubin wrote in a research note that Gilead's all-in-one oral Harvoni will probably drive down Olysio sales because of the add-on drug's price.

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