Jan 27, 2017

AbbVie's hep C drug isn't getting sold much

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AbbVie's hepatitis C drug, Viekira Pak, hasn't taken off like the competing drugs made by Gilead Sciences.

The drugmaker said Friday that sales of Viekira dropped 7% in 2016 to $1.5 billion. That's a lot of money, but Viekira is just 6% of AbbVie's total revenue. Sales in the United States alone dropped 57% last year. The core of AbbVie is its blockbuster Humira, which had more than $16 billion in sales in 2016.

Why this matters: When Viekira came to the market in 2015, it was seen as a potential competitor to Sovaldi and Harvoni, the two Gilead drugs that shook the health care world with their high prices. Like Sovaldi and Harvoni, Viekira had the ability to cure hepatitis C.

But even though Viekira scored a formulary deal with Express Scripts, it hasn't had the same widespread adoption. Part of the issue is Viekira was found to have some safety risks for hepatitis C patients who had more advanced liver disease. (This week, though, a new study found that Sovaldi and Harvoni may have side effects too.)

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Bernie Sanders suspends presidential campaign

Photo: ANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Wednesday that he is suspending his presidential campaign.

The big picture: It's an end to the campaign of the leading progressive in the race — and the candidate who seemed to be the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination just a few months ago. It also makes Biden the presumptive Democratic nominee four months before the party's convention in Milwaukee.

Indians look to Taiwan amid China's coronavirus missteps

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Many Indians are angry at China and the World Health Organization for their perceived mishandling of the coronavirus. The efficiency and transparency of Taiwan's response to the epidemic, in contrast, has made it a topic of renewed sympathy and interest in India.

Why it matters: The coronavirus crisis is showcasing Taiwan's democratic system of governance on an international stage, the biggest soft power win for the country in years.

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