Gilead to launch generic versions of its hepatitis drugs

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[September 25, 2018]  (Reuters) - Gilead Sciences Inc said on Monday it plans to launch generic versions of its hepatitis C drugs in the United States, at a time when regulators are looking to lower healthcare costs.

The drugmaker's generic version of drugs such as Harvoni and Epclusa, which raked in combined sales of $831 million in the quarter ended June 30, will be launched via a newly created subsidiary Asegua Therapeutics LLC.

Gilead's decision comes more than a month after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd's copycat version of Mylan NV's life-saving allergy injection, EpiPen.

Gilead said the low-cost variants of the drugs will be available at a list price of $24,000 for the most common course of therapy from January.

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U.S. healthcare companies, ranging from insurers to drug retailers, are stepping up efforts to combat rising drug prices that have been widely criticized by regulators.

Pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts Holding Co said Gilead's move "is a step in the right direction".

(Reporting by Aakash Jagadeesh Babu in Bengaluru)

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