WASHINGTON – 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 favour 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.