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FDA approves new $1,000-a-day hepatitis C pills

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Generic Drug
Generic Drug

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug that promises to treat hepatitis C with a daily pill instead of the more common weekly injection. The drug, called Sovaldi from Gilead Sciences, has been designed to block the protein hepatitis C uses to replicate itself. The treatment does not come cheap, though. According to The New York Times, a 12-week therapy — which is suggested for most patients — runs $84,000, or $1,000 per day, and can stretch to 24 weeks for more aggressive treatments.

150 million people have it globally

Hepatitis C has multiple strains, and can require different methods of attack. According to the World Health Organization, about 150 million people are infected with the liver disease worldwide, and it leads to more than 350,000 deaths a year. Today's approval is the latest of such drug treatments; last month the FDA approved a drug called Olysio made by Janssen Therapeutics, which also offers a once-a-day pill that runs about $66,000 for a three-month course.