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AbbVie's Viekirax + Exviera "3D" Hepatitis C Regimen Approved in Europe

The European Commission last week approved AbbVie's interferon-free Viekirax plus Exviera combination regimen -- formerly known as "3D" -- for the treatment of genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C. This approval includes people with compensated liver cirrhosis, liver transplant recipients, HIV/HCV coinfected patients, and people on opioid substitution therapy for drug addiction. The commission also approved Viekirax plus ribavirin for HCV genotype 4.

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Sofosbuvir/Ledipasvir + Third Drug Cures Most HCV Patients in 6 Weeks

A short and well-tolerated regimen of sofosbuvir, ledipasvir, and a third drug -- either GS-9669 or GS-9451 -- taken for as little as 6 weeks can cure a majority of previously untreated people with genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C, including those with traditional predictors of poor response, according to study results published in the January 12 advance edition of The Lancet.

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2. Harvoni and Viekira Pak: Effective Oral Combinations for HCV Genotype 1

2014 saw the long-awaited U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of new interferon-free combination regimens for people with genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C: Gilead Sciences sofosbuvir/ledipasvir coformulation (Harvoni) in October and AbbVie's paritaprevir/ritonavir/ombitasvir plus dasabuvir regimen (Viekira Pak, formerly known as "3D") in late December. 

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Merck Plans to Discontinue Boceprevir for Hepatitis C by December 2015

Merck will stop selling its HCV protease inhibitor boceprevir (Victrelis) by December of this year, and no new patients should be started on the drug, the company announced in a recent "Dear Healthcare Professional" letter. While the first-generation HCV protease inhibitors improved the effectiveness of pegylated interferon plus ribavirin, they are no match in terms of efficacy or tolerability for the newer interferon-free combinations approved over the past 2 years.

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3. High Hepatitis C Treatment Cost Leads to Restrictions, Sets Off Price War

The high cost of new interferon-free hepatitis C treatments has raised concerns about how public payers and private insurers will be able to afford them and sparked a more general discussion about the cost of pharmaceuticals in a changing healthcare landscape.

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