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There has been much criticism around Gilead’s hepatitis C treatment, Sovaldi, which runs $84,000 per treatment. When we add in the cost of the other medications that must be taken in combination with Sovaldi, the total cost of treatment is around $95,000. Don’t expect Gilead’s newest drug, which combines Sovaldi and ledipasvir, to be drastically less expensive. Estimates from market analysts quoted in Reuters vary from $85,000 – $100,000 per treatment.

Cost aside, the new treatment could have a cure rate near 99 percent, which is an improvement over Sovaldi’s cure rate of 90 percent. In addition, because ribavirin and interferon are no longer needed, difficult side effects sometimes associated with these medications are removed.

Specialty drugs with high price tags and equally high cure rates will continue to pose cost-management challenges for employers. Staying on top of the pipeline and predicting future costs is proving to be even more challenging.