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Merck Confirms FDA Approval Of Hep C Drug At A Cost Of $54,600 Per Patient


Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK) confirmed after Thursday's market close that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved ZEPATIER for the treatment of adult patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype (GT) 1 or GT4 infection.

Shares of Merck were trading higher by 1.32 percent at $49.84 heading into Friday's afternoon session.

Related Link: Adam Feurestein Reminds Twitter Followers 'Today Is Merck's HepC elbasvir/grazoprevir PDUFA'

ZEPATIER is a once-daily, fixed-dose combination tablet containing the NS5A inhibitor elbasvir (50 mg) and the NS3/4A protease inhibitor grazoprevir (100 mg).

Merck stated that the majority of patients that suffer from chronic HCV "have not yet been treated" and in some cases this is due to "cost constraints." The company added that its new therapy will cost $54,600 for a 12-week regimen, which the company "believes to be n the range of net prices for other commonly used HCV direct-acting antiviral regimens at 12 weeks of therapy."

"Merck anticipates that this price, as well as our comprehensive access strategy to seek broad coverage across commercial and public segments, will help broaden and accelerate patient access to treatment and move us closer to our shared goal of reducing the burden of chronic HCV in the U.S," the company stated in its press release.

"Merck's decades-long commitment in chronic hepatitis C -- and infectious diseases overall -- has been to both scientific innovation and access," said Robert McMahon, president, U.S. Market, Global Human Health, Merck. "We are embracing this opportunity to partner with payers and physicians to enable as many appropriate patients to be treated as possible, as quickly as possible."

"Privately insured patients who have difficulty affording the co-pay set by their insurance plan may be eligible for significant co-pay assistance and may pay as little as $5 for each prescription," the company also added.


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Posted-In: HCV Hepatitis C merck Robert McMahon ZEPATIERNews FDA

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