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Max Nisen

Merck Throws a Wrench in Drug Pricing

It undercuts and embarrasses rivals and may set a precedent.

Zepatier is not a mononymous Latin pop star, an extra Musketeer, a soccer player, or a mysterious revolutionary. 

Instead, it's Merck's new entrant into a now-crowded market of drugs that cure Hepatitis C, approved by the FDA Thursday night. And it's by far the cheapest, priced at $54,600 for a 12-week course. That's about a 42 percent discount to market leader Gilead's $13 billion-a-year blockbuster Harvoni and a slightly smaller discount to AbbVie's Viekira Pak.