Federal health officials have approved a daily pill that can cure the most common form of hepatitis C without the grueling pill-and-injection cocktail long used to treat the virus.
But the drug’s $1,125-per-pill price is sure to increase criticism of drugmaker Gilead Sciences, whose pricing strategy for an older hepatitis drug has already drawn scorn from patient groups, insurers and politicians worldwide.
The Food and Drug Administration said Friday it cleared Gilead’s Harvoni combination pill for patients with genotype 1 of hepatitis C, a form of the liver-destroying virus that accounts for 70 percent of the estimated 3.2 million cases in the U.S. For the first time ever, those patients will not have to take a decades-old combination of antiviral pills and shots that causes flu-like side effects.
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