Despite increasing competition from new treatments, Gilead Sciences’ blockbuster Hepatitis C medications Sovaldi and Harvoni generated nearly $5 billion in sales during the second quarter of 2015, topping Wall Street estimates.
Gilead Reaps Huge Q2 Earnings from Hep C Meds
As a result of its massive earnings, Gilead once again raised its guidance for net product sales, this time by $1 billion, and now expects sales to reach $29 to $30 billion by the end of the fiscal year, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Sovaldi and Harvoni are among the most successful drug launches ever, largely due to their impressive cure rates (studies indicate the medications can cure over 90% of Hepatitis C patients in 12 weeks), minimal side effects and astronomical price tags — both drugs cost about $1000 per pill, or from $84,000 – $95,000 for a 12 week regimen.
Gilead’s Hep C drugs are facing competition from new treatments like AbbVie’s Viekira Pak, which was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) last December, as well as a forthcoming product Merck submitted a new drug application for in May.
Sales of Sovaldi fell to $1.29 billion during the second quarter — a decline of 63% from a year earlier — largely due to Gilead’s Oct. 2014 release of Harvoni, which combines sofosbuvir (the active ingredient in Sovaldi) and ledipasvir. The second quarter saw increased sales of Harvoni at $3.61 billion, up from $3.58 billion last quarter and $2.11 billion in its first quarter on the market.
Consumers, insurers and drug benefit managers have complained about the exorbitant price of Sovaldi and Harvoni. As a result, investors will be looking for signs of how contract discounts with pharmacy benefit managers and the number of patients treated affect growth, according to a note by Evercore ISI analyst Mark Schoenebaum.
Overall, Gilead reported a profit of $4.49 billion, or $2.92 a share, up from $3.66 billion, or $2.20 a share, a year earlier. Excluding stock-based expenses and other items, per-share earnings rose to $3.15 from $2.36, according to WSJ. Revenue increased 26% to $8.24 billion.