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Gilead shares rise earnings blow past estimates

Gilead Sciences Inc, whose pricing policy ignited a fierce debate over prescription drug prices, said its new $1,000 hepatitis C pill generated quarterly sales of $2.27 billion, helping the company's quarterly net profit nearly triple.

The Foster City, Calif.-based company on Tuesday reported net income for the quarter of $2.23 billion, or $1.33 a share, up from $722 million, or 43 cents a share, a year earlier.

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Revenue doubled to $5 billion, beating by a wide margin the $3.98 billion average Wall Street analyst forecast, as compiled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Gilead's decision to price the new hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi, which was approved by U.S. regulators in December, at $84,000 for a 12-week course of therapy has rankled lawmakers and insurers, spurring an outcry over the rising costs of specialty medicines.

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