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In a surprising move, Gilead Sciences (GILD) early next year will begin selling so-called authorized generic versions of its two leading hepatitis C treatments — Epclusa and Harvoni — at significantly lower prices that the company claims will offer “substantial savings” to Medicaid and other patients.

The effort, which was met with intrigue on Wall Street but skepticism among patient advocates, comes as Gilead struggles to compete in a hepatitis C market that it once dominated with sky-high prices before rivals began undercutting its market share with lower pricing.


Both medicines will have a $24,000 list price, slightly less than what insurers are paying for an AbbVie (ABBV) drug for an 8-week course. Epclusa, for instance, carries a list price of around $75,000 for a 12-week regimen. And Gilead created a separate subsidiary to sell its authorized versions, which are essentially the same treatments as brand-name drugs but marketed under a different label.

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