Regulators OK New Hepatitis C Drug

WASHINGTON (November 23, 2013) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug from Johnson & Johnson for use in treating chronic hepatitis C infections.

The drug is a protease inhibitor that blocks a protein needed by the virus to replicate.

The Johnson & Johnson drug is designed to eliminate hepatitis C, the most common form of the liver-destroying virus.

It is a daily pill taken in combination with the long-established drug cocktail used to treat the most common form of the virus.

The FDA's decision came less than a month after an FDA advisory panel voted unanimously in favor of approving the treatment.

More than 3 million people in the U.S. have hepatitis C, a blood-borne disease that causes 15,000 deaths a year.

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