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Two Generic Hepatitis C Drugs Win U.S. Approval

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    Health - Reuters Two Generic Hepatitis C Drugs Win U.S. Approval Wed Apr 7, 6:32 PM ET By Ransdell Pierson NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two drugmakers on Wednesday
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 7, 2004
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      Health - Reuters

      Two Generic Hepatitis C Drugs Win U.S. Approval
      Wed Apr 7, 6:32 PM ET

      By Ransdell Pierson

      NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two drugmakers on Wednesday said they had won
      U.S. approval to sell their generic forms of ribavirin, a mainstay
      treatment for hepatitis C sold by Schering-Plough Corp. and Roche
      Holding AG.


      Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG and Three Rivers Pharmaceuticals LLC, a
      privately held generic drug manufacturing company based north of
      Pittsburgh, said their copycats will be launched immediately.

      Novartis and Three Rivers, which has given Pharmaceutical Resources
      Inc. rights to market its product, are the only companies that will
      be allowed to sell generic ribavirin in the United States for the
      next 180 days.

      Approvals of the two generics had been widely expected and their
      arrival could drive down the cost of treating hepatitis C, a virus
      believed to infect as many as 4 million Americans which is the
      biggest cause of liver transplants.

      All forms of ribavirin are approved for use with interferon, an
      injectable medicine also sold by both Schering-Plough and Roche that
      stimulates the immune system to fight the virus.

      Schering-Plough had a U.S. monopoly on its dual therapy until Roche
      introduced its rival combination treatment in early 2003. The Roche
      combination therapy now boasts the dominant market share, in part
      because its brand of ribavirin costs about 40 percent less than
      Schering-Plough's.

      Neither Novartis nor Three Rivers disclosed what they will charge for
      their generics, but industry analysts expect them to reflect a
      significant discount from Roche's price of up to $800 per month.



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