Is the Promised Hepatitis C Drug War Finally Here?

Trial involving experimental medications shows six-week cure rate.

A small clinical trial has shown a combination of oral medicines can rid the body of the disease in as few as six weeks, which marks a big advancement in the treatment of hepatitis C.

The drugs included a combination of sofosbuvir and ledipasvir and one of two experimental drugs by Gilead Sciences, GS-9669 and GS-9451.

One obstacle to shorter treatments is cost. Harvoni (ledipasvir-sofosbuvir), the most recently approved rapid cure medication, costs around $95,000. The high price tag for this daily pill taken for 12 weeks poses challenges to public health insurers such as state Medicaid programs. Debates are raging surrounding who should have access to the medications and when.


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