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FDA clears Johnson & Johnson hepatitis C drug

11-22-13

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators have approved a new drug from Johnson & Johnson for use in treating chronic hepatitis C infections.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday it approved the drug, 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 comes 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 is blamed for 15,000 deaths a year.