FDA Approves First All-Oral Drug For Hepatitis C Patients; How Much Is The Treatment?

By Beatrice Walters, Parent Herald June 29, 05:49 am

Patients suffering any form of hepatitis C can now get treated with a government-approved drug. For the first time ever, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a pill that can treat all major subtypes of hepatitis C.

According to CBS News, FDA has approved five other hepatitis drugs before but this is the first all-oral medication that can address all concerns of hepatitis C patients in every stage of the disease. The pill is manufactured by Gilead Sciences and is called Epclusa.

CBS News reports that Epclusa is easier to use than the other five FDA-approved hepatitis drugs. As per San Francisco Business Times, it is the only all-oral pill available to treat hepatitis C that won't require patients to take ribavirin injections or other drugs.

For a 12-week treatment, Epclusa costs $74,760 which means a pill is priced at $890 (via CBS News). According to San Francisco Business Times, this is a breakthrough in drug pricing when other drugs for hepatitis C patients such as Sovaldi costs $1,000 in 2013.

"The approval of Epclusa represents an important step forward in the global effort to control and potentially eliminate HCV as it provides a safe, simple and effective cure for the majority of HCV-infected patients, regardless of genotype. Building on the established backbone of sofosbuvir, Epclusa demonstrated consistently high cure rate across all genotypes, including among patients with genotype 2 and 3, who traditionally have required ribavirin or other multi-pill regimens," Ira Jacobson, MD, Chairman of the Department of Medicine said at a press release from Gilead Sciences.

According to CBS News, people rarely know that they have hepatitis C until their skin becomes yellowish, their urine becomes darker, and they increasingly feel tired. The liver disease has led to the deaths of 19,000 people in 2014.

Epclusa is an effective pill for patients with Hepatitis C but do you think that it's reasonably priced or can it still be sold at a lower cost? Sound off your thoughts on the Comments section below and follow Parent Herald for more news and updates.

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