- Flickr/Kiran Foster
High pharmaceutical prices in the US have been in the spotlight for the past year.
But which drugs are the most expensive?
GoodRx, a startup that works to assemble the prices of drugs and provide discounts so that people can find the lowest prices for their prescriptions, compiled a list of the 10 most expensive prescription drugs in the US.
The price listed is for a 30-day supply (with the exception of drugs that are used as a cure, in which case the dose needed to cure was listed).
The price is what GoodRx calls its “fair price”: It’s not exactly the list price, or what the pharmaceutical company sets – it’s the maximum you should be paying at a pharmacy, wherever you are and whatever your coverage (or lack thereof).
The drugs on the list are mainly for rare conditions, or used to treat and cure hepatitis C (which afflicts millions of Americans).
Viekira Pak, AbbVie: $34,600
- Viekira.com screenshot
Viekira Pak is a hepatitis C drug meant to cure those with the virus. Hepatitis C is a disease that’s transmitted by blood. Once infected, most don’t have immediate symptoms, but left untreated it can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer. It affects between 130 million and 150 million people worldwide.
Firazyr (icatibant), Shire: $35,800
- Screenshot, Firazyr.com
The drug Firazyr is used to treat a rare condition called hereditary angioedema, or HAE, a blood disorder that causes episodic swelling. Firazyr is an injection that can be used to treat these attacks. This price is for three syringes worth of the drug.
Cuprimine (penicillamine), Valeant: $39,800
Cuprimine, a drug that’s already been the subject of congressional hearings on drug prices, has been around since the 1950s. It’s currently owned by Valeant, and in the past few years, its price has shot up. It’s used to treat Wilson disease, a rare inherited disease that causes copper to build up in the body. The drug works to get that copper out of a person’s system. Like others in this list, the drug is also included on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines. The price is for 120 capsules; one is taken after every meal.
Orkambi (lumacaftor and ivacaftor), Vertex: $44,200
When it was approved, Vertex’s drug made headlines for costing $259,000 a year. It treats a particular type of cystic fibrosis and is taken twice a day. Cystic fibrosis is a rare inherited disease in which a thick mucus builds up in the lungs and other key organs.
Olysio (simeprevir), Janssen: $44,800
Olysio is another drug to treat hepatitis C. It’s used in combination with another drug, called sofosbuvir, to treat the disease. This price is for two bottles of 28 capsules.
HP Acthar (corticotropin), Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals: $51,600
HP Acthar gel, a drug that’s used to treat multiple sclerosis, infantile spasms, rheumatoid arthritis and a few other conditions, has in the past been called out for its high price tag. The drug was originally approved in the 1950s, and is currently owned by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. This price is for two vials of the drug.
Daklinza (daclatasvir), Bristol-Myers Squibb: $54,300
- Daklinza website screenshot
Daklinza is another hepatitis C cure. It’s used on its own to treat people with genotype 3 hepatitis C along with sofosbuvir, another hepatitis C drug.
Cinryze (human c1 esterase inhibitor), Shire: $72,100
- Cinryze.com screengrab
Cinryze is another drug used to treat to treat HAE. The injections, taken twice a week, are used to prevent the swelling attacks that HAE causes.
Harvoni (ledipasvir and sofosbuvir), Gilead Sciences: $79,200
Gilead’s second hepatitis C cure was approved in 2014. The combination drug actually is cheaper than sofosbuvir on its own for a full course of treatment, according to GoodRx’s fair price analysis.
1. Sovaldi (sofosbuvir), Gilead Sciences: $81,000
Sovaldi, the first of a new set of hepatitis C cures that hit the market in 2013, came under a lot of fire for costing $1,000 a pill, adding up to $84,000 for a 12-week course of treatment. According to GoodRx, the most, without insurance, that a person should pay is $81,000 for the full treatment.