Summary Box: FDA reviews Merck hepatitis drug

AP News
Posted: Apr 25, 2011 1:28 PM
Summary Box: FDA reviews Merck hepatitis drug

A FASTER CURE: A federal review shows that a new hepatitis C drug from Merck & Co. cures most patients faster and more completely than older medications.

FDA QUESTIONS: While acknowledging the effectiveness of the drug, the FDA has questions about its limited effectiveness in African Americans and side effects, including anemia. A panel of outside experts will discuss these issues and ultimately vote on the drug's overall benefit at a meeting Wednesday.

NEW APPROACH: Merck's drug takes a new approach to fighting hepatitis by blocking the enzyme protease, which allows the virus to reproduce. The FDA panel will review a similar drug from Vertex Pharmaceuticals on Thursday.