National / Science & Health

Sovriad deaths spur drug label rewrite

Kyodo —

Three people have died after taking Sovriad to treat hepatitis C, and drugmaker Janssen Pharmaceutical K.K. has been ordered to revise the medicine’s packaging to state that usage should be halted if indicated by blood tests, the health ministry disclosed on Friday.

The ministry has ordered Janssen, which also distributes Sovriad, to notify doctors and hospitals about the change in writing.

The instructions in the drug’s packaging warn that liver function might decline from using the drug, which is known generically as Simeprevir Sodium.

About 19,000 hepatitis sufferers across the country had used Sovriad as of the end of September.

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