Zepatier Tops Other Hepatitis C Drugs in Safety Comparison

A recent analysis found that Merck’s Zepatier beats out Gilead’s Harvoni and Sovaldi in clinical safety and cost for hepatitis C (HCV) patients, according to Advera Health Analytics.

Elbasvir and grazoprevir (Zepatier) was approved by the FDA on January 28, 2016, for patients who suffer from chronic hepatitis genotype 1 and 4. It is listed at $54,600 for a 12-week treatment regimen, compared with $94,600 for Harvoni and $83,319 for Viekira Pak.

“Half cost of Zepatier has alarmed the competitors, especially Harvoni,” wrote Raheel Farooq in Business Finance News. “The Zepatier less price factor is likely to give an edge to acquire overall state and some commercial payers. There is a big chance of price war between the companies. Zepatier’s launch can reduce Harvoni’s sale to $12.24 billion in 2016, approximately 12% as compared to 2015.”

The analysis reported that Sovaldi had the highest amount of serious side effects out of the 3 drugs, such as cardiac arrest and suicidal thoughts. Zepatier has not been found to carry the same side effects as Sovaldi, but is instead comparable to Harvoni.

In fact, Advera suggests the FDA should require other serious side effects be added to Sovaldi’s label, such as progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, and drug-induced liver injury.

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