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New Hepatitis C Drug Seems Promising

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WASHINGTON (AP) — An experimental hepatitis C drug from Johnson & Johnson appears to be slightly more effective at eliminating the virus than currently available treatments, though federal safety reviewers say it also causes rash and sunburn in some patients.

The Food and Drug Administration posted its review of simeprevir online ahead of a public meeting Thursday where experts will vote on whether to recommend the drug’s approval.

More than 3 million people in the United States have Hepatitis C, a blood-borne disease linked to 15,000 deaths a year. The drugs currently used to treat the virus cure about 65 to 75 percent of people after a year of treatment. FDA said simeprevir cured 80 percent of patients who had not previously been treated for the disease.

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