FDA approves breakthrough hepatitis C drug

WASHINGTON - Gilead Sciences Inc. says the federal government has approved its highly anticipated hepatitis C drug that is expected to offer a faster cure to millions of people infected with the liver-destroying virus.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the pill Sovaldi as a daily treatment in combination with older drugs to treat the major forms of hepatitis C.

Current treatments for hepatitis C can take up to a year of therapy and only cure three out of four patients. Sovaldi is a daily pill that cures roughly 90 percent of patients in just 12 weeks, according to company studies.

The approval comes as the federal government urges baby boomers to get tested for the disease. Hepatitis C is five times more common among people born between 1945 and 1965.

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