Merck & Co. plans to target hard-to-treat hepatitis C patients
with its cure for the liver ailment rather than compete for market share
by drastically undercutting the price of Gilead Sciences Inc.’s
Merck said Tuesday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
accepted its application for approval of the single pill, which combines
the medications grazoprevir and elbasvir, and granted the medicine a
priority review. That means Merck is on course to introduce the
treatment to the market early next year.
The field for hepatitis C patients is currently divided between
AbbVie Inc. and Gilead, which have locked up arrangements with the
leading managers of drug coverage in U.S. health insurance plans,
ensuring their medications are the first choice. Still, Merck doesn’t
foresee trouble attracting patients.
Labels: grazoprevir/elbasvir, hard-to-treat, Merck