Gilead Won’t Run Out of Hep C Patients, or Dollars, Anytime Soon

A single pill of Gilead Sciences Inc.’s hepatitis C treatment costs more than an iPhone, and is selling better, too.

In the drug’s first full year on the market in 2014, Sovaldi — which costs $1,000 a pill — brought in $10.3 billion. That’s more than the Apple Inc. phone generated in 2008, its first full year. Gilead’s follow-up drug, Harvoni, is on pace to do even better, with second-quarter sales of $3.61 billion.

Yet each lucrative prescription dispensed represents a patient cured of the viral liver infection — and who will no longer need the pills. As the treatments fly off pharmacy shelves, investors have wondered how long the gold rush can last.

It can last a while.

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