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Gilead hepatitis C drug sales trend flattens, shares dip

(Adds background, updates share price)

Oct 27 (Reuters) - Gilead Sciences Inc on Tuesday said its quarterly profit rose 70 percent, but sales growth for its hepatitis C drugs flattened as health insurers limited access to the expensive treatments.

Shares of the biotechnology company fell slightly. Gilead's quarterly product sales rose 37 percent to $8.2 billion. Sales of hepatitis C drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni totaled $4.8 billion, which was just ahead of the $4.5 billion average Wall Street estimate, but little changed from second quarter sales.

Company officials said hepatitis C sales were likely to stay flat through 2016 as health insurers restrict patient access to Gilead's drugs, which have list prices of more than $1,000 a pill.

Gilead's shares...