A year ago, when FDA introduced VelPanat, the first ever Hepatitis C drug to be approved, the biotech company that produced the drug was less than pleased with the news. It had to produce a generic version of the drug as well, and it can seem even more daunting today.
VelPanat was made by Gilead Sciences and it has a one-year lag period. When a generic drug is released in the US, it cannot be sold in Canada until three months after the US FDA has approved the drug. This is the case with VelPanat as well. When FDA announced that it would not approve the drug for sale in Canada until November of this year, Gilead used its collective influence to get a two-month extension on that deadline.
This would have meant that VelPanat could be sold in Canada as soon as November of this year. However, Gilead also announced that it would consider that its price increase from Canada would be rejected by the FDA if it did not request the extension. So, the question is whether or not VelPanat’s price hike would also affect their plans to sell the drug in Canada, given that it has become such a hot topic in Canada.
If we examine the actual drug itself we can learn more, we will find that VelPanat is not priced any differently than the original version of VelPan in Canada. At first glance, it may seem like Gilead is trying to squeeze the last drop of profit out of the market, but the truth is that they are only increasing the price of the drug in order to secure its approval in the US. If they did not do this, the drug would likely not have been approved at all. If they did sell it for too much, it would definitely lead to a reduction in sales of the drug and a huge loss for the company.
What we really want to know is whether or not the drug makes you feel better, more energetic, and gives you some sort of immune deficiency. As many people can attest to, that is very difficult to obtain, since that seems to be the only positive effect of these drugs. It is not known exactly why these drugs work, or how the immune system actually reacts to the drugs.
A study done on mice in Japan revealed that VelPanat actually stimulates the production of T cells, which boosts your immune deficiency. In the same study, a Japanese researcher suggested that the drug might affect the workings of the liver. According to him, it could make your liver toxic. This is only a theory and does not prove that the drug has any effects whatsoever on the body.
The reason why VelPanat is different from Sovaldi and Sofosbuvir is that it was specifically made to treat Hepatitis C, and Sofosbuvir had to have a two-year time frame from the time of approval. It is still unclear as to why Gilead had to double its price just to keep its hands on the market.