Health ministry approves new hepatitis C drug under insurance scheme

A health ministry panel has added a new highly effective, but expensive, hepatitis C virus drug to the national health insurance scheme, giving high hopes for patients who have had to endure painful interferon injections.

The tablet drug Harvoni, developed by U.S.-based Gilead Sciences Inc., is expected to revolutionize the treatment of patients with hepatitis C genotype 1, which accounts for about 70 percent of all hepatitis C patients in Japan.

A daily dose of one pill set at ¥80,171 will starting Monday be covered by the insurance, limiting the patient cost to about ¥20,000 a month. Read more.... Read our Hepatitis C Around the World on Japan: go here....

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