Aug 13 Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc is
stopping U.S. sales and distribution of its Incivek hepatitis C
treatment, whose use has been largely supplanted by the new
Sovaldi drug from Gilead Sciences Inc.
On Monday, Vertex sent a letter to doctors who treat
patients with liver wasting disease to inform them that it would
not be available after Oct. 14, a company spokesman confirmed on
Vertex said in May during a conference call with analysts
that it would withdraw from the hepatitis C market but had not
said when it would stop making the drug.
Incivek was approved in 2011 and quickly rose to annual
sales of more than $1 billion. Sales began to decline at the end
of 2012 as patients began to wait for promising new drugs from
competitors, which hit the market at the end of 2013.
The spokesman said the move was due to dwindling patients
for the drug and the new treatments that are available. In the
first half of the year, Gilead sold about $6 billion of Sovaldi,
which has a high cure rate without the risk of the side effects
older treatments carried.
Johnson & Johnson markets the Vertex hepatitis C
treatment outside of the United States.
Vertex shares were up 3.7 percent to $88.58 on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Caroline Humer; Editing by Nick Zieminski)