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FDA approves new drug for flu patients

With flu season underway, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new treatment to add to the arsenal of ways to treat the virus.

The drug, Xofluza, made by Genentech, is the first new flu drug the agency has approved in nearly two decades. Its price will be set at $150.

It’s designed to be taken as a single dose by people age 12 and older within the first two days they start to experience flu symptoms to reduce symptoms and shorten the length of the virus.

“With thousands of people getting the flu every year, and many people becoming seriously ill, having safe and effective treatment alternatives is critical,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a news release. “This novel drug provides an important, additional treatment option.”

Gottlieb added that it’s important to keep in mind that the drugs don’t replace the preventive flu vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends three antiviral drugs to treat the flu: Tamiflu, Relenza, and Rapivab.

The wholesale acquisition cost of Xofluza was $150, in line with what Tamiflu costs. Genentech is also providing a coupon for commercially insured patients to bring down the cost of the dose to $30.

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