This is great news for people like me who are infected with more than one genotype of Hep C. Rather than looking forward to two different treatment plans, one for each of the strains, one pill can treat both strains! The best part? The cost per pill is already lower than the relatively new treatment, Harvoni.
First published by cbsnews.com, AP June 28, 2016
Federal health officials on Tuesday approved the first pill to treat all major forms ofhepatitis C, the latest in a series of drug approvals that have reshaped treatment of the liver-destroying virus.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the combination pill, Epclusa, from Gilead Sciences, for patients with and without liver damage. The new drug’s broad indication could make it easier to use than five other hepatitis drugs recently approved by the FDA, which are each tailored to different viral strains or stages of liver disease.
Gilead’s previous two hepatitisdrugs have raked in billions of dollars by replacing an older, less effective treatment that involved a grueling pill-and-injection cocktail. But the company’s aggressive approach to pricing has drawn scorn from patient groups, insurers and politicians worldwide.
The company said Epclusa will cost $74,760 for a 12-week course of treatment, or roughly $890 per pill. That’s less than the initial price for company’s previous drug, Harvoni, which cost $1,125 per pill. Gilead’s first hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi, cost roughly $1,000 per pill, touching off a national debate about escalating drug costs.
Since 2014, the FDA has approved rival medications from AbbVie Inc., Merck & Co., and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. that have helped curb prices.
Hepatitis C affects at least 2.7 million people in U.S. and caused more than 19,000 deaths in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus develops slowly over decades and many people don’t realize they are infected until signs of liver damage emerge, including yellowish skin, dark urine andfatigue. Some develop liver cancer or cirrhosis and require a liver transplant, but many die before a match is available. Baby boomers are five times more likely to have the virus than people in other age groups.” Click the link below to read the entire article…