The good news is that the FDA approved a new pill that makes treating hepatitis C simpler, shorter and better. The bad news is it costs $1,000 per pill -- wholesale -- or $84,000 for the recommended 12-week treatment regimen, reports the New York Times.
Hepatitis C destroys the liver and is mostly associated with intravenous drug use. About a third of Americans with HIV have hepatitis C as well. It's thought that three to four million people nationally are infected wtih it, but since many aren't aware they have hepatitis C until it manifests symptoms, exact figures are unknown.
The drug, called Sovaldi, had a 80 percent cure rate in tests compared with a 20 to 25 percent cure rate for treatments of interferon alfa and ribavirin taken in weekly injections.
Reacting to the drug's price tag, Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation told NYT, “This is unbearable to the health care system and it is completely unjustified,”
The drug's manufacturer, Gilead, says its price is lower than some other hepatitis C treatments and is a fair price because of its effectiveness. Read more.