© The Author(s) 2015. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. AIM: To investigate the efficacy, safety, and cost of treatment of direct acting antivirals (DAAs) with and without peg interferon alfa2a (P), and/or ribavirin (R) in treating hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 patients. METHODS: MEDLINE was searched for randomized controlled trials (RCT) using DAAs for HCV treatment. Phase 1 trials and studies with investigational drugs on genotype 2 or 3, and on human immunodeficiency virus patients were excluded. Data were pooled for sustained virologic response (SVR), serious adverse effects, and drug discontinuation rate on various treatment arms in trials: P + R; 1st generation DAA (telaprevir or boceprevir) + P + R; 2nd generation DAA (sofosbuvir or simeprevir) + P + R; 2nd generation DAA + R; two 2nd generation DAA + R; and two 2nd gen DAA. Data were analyzed separately for each arm for treatment naive and non-responders (NR) to previous treatment. The cost of treatment with each regimen for achieving one SVR was also compared. RESULTS: Twenty three RCTs (n = 9354, 62% male, 11% cirrhosis) were analyzed. All oral (P free) regimens with combination of 2 DAA achieved SVR above 95%. The cost of treatment to achieve an SVR with DAA based regimens was lower for NR compared to P+R regimen. However, the cost per SVR remained higher for treatment naive patients. CONCLUSION: Second generation and emerging DAAs are promising agents in HCV treatment, with a very high level of safety and efficacy. An important drawback is their high cost. However, the present meta-analysis shows that the cost per SVR for non responders (but not for naive patients) was lower compared to P + R. This finding together with the superior safety profile and better compliance makes these drugs highly attractive. It is possible that further reduction in treatment duration may make them even more cost effective.