Six of the best-selling drugs have indications for forms of cancer. [©Saharrr/Fotolia.com] via Geneng (Genome Study) News: Bad press didn’t hurt Sovaldi™ (sofosbuvir) after all. The Hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment drew the wrath of three members of Congress, who demanded that developer Gilead Sciences justify its $84,000 price for a full 12-week treatment course of Sovaldi. The company offered its justification and didn’t have to worry about too much fallout from the criticism, since its three Congressional critics were top Democrats in the Republican-majority House of Representatives.
Even better for Gilead, which barely began marketing Sovaldi at the end of 2013, sales of the HCV treatment zoomed into eight figures—high enough to place near the top of GEN’s latest version of its List of Top 25 Best-Selling Drugs, reflecting drug sales reported for 2014.
Unlike last year’s Top 25 Best-Selling Drugs of 2013, this year’s list had only 24 drugs generating total sales of $3 billion or more. That allowed the 25th best-selling drug of 2014 to make this year’s list (it appeared in GEN’s Top 20 Best-Selling Drugs list in 2012 but missed 2013), despite sales in only the high-$2 billion range.
Biopharma is in a transition period as the blockbusters of the past decade fade. They have either fallen off the proverbial patent cliff (Novartis’ Diovan, which lost US exclusivity in 2012) or succumbed to a stronger U.S. dollar against European and Asian currencies despite rising sales (Novo Nordisk’s NovoLog, which also missed this year’s list). At the same time, the next generation of multi-billion-dollar drugs takes time to build the billions in sales needed to make the best-seller list—but can be expected to do so starting next year.