Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Hepatitis Health Center

Font Size

Generic Versions of Hepatitis C Drug Approved

FDA Approves 2 Generic Forms of Ribavirin for Hepatitis C Treatment
WebMD Health News

April 8, 2004 -- The FDA has approved two new generic versions of a drug that's a mainstay of hepatitis C treatment.

Yesterday, the FDA approved generic versions of the drug ribavirin, which until now has been sold under the brand name Rebetol by Schering-Plough and Roche.

Ribavirin is typically used in combination with interferon for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C. Experts say the approval of generic versions will likely reduce the cost of chronic hepatitis C treatment, which currently costs up to $25,000 per year.

Infection with the hepatitis C virus is a leading cause of liver disease in the U.S. and the No. 1 cause of liver transplants. It affects about 4 million Americans. Hepatitis C infection can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. More than 30,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.

The hepatitis C virus is most commonly transmitted via contact with contaminated blood through sharing needles or other medical equipment. It may also be transmitted through sexual contact with an infected individual.

Generic Hepatitis C Drugs Approved

Sandoz Inc., a subsidiary of Swiss drug maker Novartis, and Three Rivers Pharmaceuticals both received approval from the FDA to market their copycat versions of ribavirin for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C.

Three Rivers Pharmaceuticals plans to sell its drug under the name Ribasphere, and Sandoz will sell its version under the name Ribavirin Capsules.

Although the companies did not disclose how much the new generic versions would cost, generic drugs usually cost much less than their brand-name counterparts. In addition, the introduction of generic versions of a drug usually drives down the cost of the name-brand version.

Today on WebMD

Hepatitus C virus
Types, symptoms and treatments.
liver illustration
Myths and facts about this essential organ.
woman eating apple
What you need to know.
doctor and patient
What causes it?
Hepatitis C Treatment
Syringes and graph illustration
liver illustration
passport, pills and vaccine
Scientist looking in microscope
Fatty Liver Disease
Digestive Diseases Liver Transplantation
Picture Of The Liver
Image Collection