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The Boston Globe

Business

Demand for expensive hepatitis C drug strains insurers

When ‘miracle’ cures, cost collide

When scientists envision breakthrough medicines of the future, they’re thinking about drugs like Sovaldi. Since being approved for US sale in December, the hepatitis C pill has racked up a cure rate of more than 90 percent. It’s a staggering, life-altering statistic for the estimated 3.2 million people in the United States infected with the virus, which over time ravages the liver.

“My virus is now undetectable,” said Barnstable resident Laurel Welch, 65, a retired nurse who contracted hepatitis C through contact with contaminated blood 25 years ago and began taking Sovaldi in January. “I was so sick for so long. Now I’ve got a new life.”

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