Hepatitis C and Merck [Merck & Co., Inc., Gilead Sciences, Inc.]

drugsHepatitis C news is all over the headlines. That’s because the Hep C market is huge – $100 billion huge. And while Gilead Sciences, Inc.(NASDAQ:GILD) has been grabbing all the headlines in that area, Merck & Co., Inc.(NYSE:MRK) is right on its heels.

This is shaping up to be a two-horse race for the best and most affordable one-pill-a-day regimen to treat what is a horrible disease that affects 2.7 million people in the U.S. alone.

Gilead is expected to take the lion’s share of this market, 60% to 75%. That means there is 25% to 40% of the market up for grabs. This is where Merck expects to make its money.

The other players here are Bristol-Myers Squibb Co(NYSE:BMY) and AbbVie Inc(NYSE:ABBV), but their systems require multiple drugs and pills. The market sees that as a negative.

And despite the lower market share from the Hep C race, Merck has lots of other reasons to own it.

It has initiated what has been described as an aggressive two-year restructuring plan. It also has several

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