Hepatitis C Drugs on WHO's "Essential Medicines" List

The addition by the World Health Organization follows requests by consumer groups for the agency to widen its list to include some of the latest treatments carrying high price tags.

As the debate over the cost of prescription drugs accelerates, the World Health Organization has added several treatments for cancer and hepatitis C to its list of so-called essential medicines, which the agency believes should be made available at affordable prices.

The move comes amid growing friction between payers — both public and private – and the pharmaceutical industry over drug pricing. The addition by the WHO follows requests by consumer groups for the agency to widen its list to include some of the latest treatments carrying high price tags.

Among the drugs added to the list are three hepatitis C treatments — Sovaldi and Harvoni, which are sold by Gilead Sciences, and the Viekira Pak medication sold by AbbVie. These medicines helped spark widening concerns last year over affordability.

Complete article on The Wall Street Journal: http://on.wsj.com/1zL7Cvf