Welcome to HCV Advocate’s hepatitis blog. The intent of this blog is to keep our website audience up-to-date on information about hepatitis and to answer some of our web site and training audience questions. People are encouraged to submit questions and post comments.
For more information on how to use this blog click here, the HCV drug pipeline click here, and for more information on HCV clinical trials click here
Drugs in Development / Clinical Trials—Updated October 13, 2014
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Around 4,000 patients of hepatitis B and C who cannot afford private treatment have been suffering for over six months due to the non-availability of interferon at public health centres in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
The supply of the therapeutic drug has been suspended because a case is being heard in the PHC regarding the health department’s purchase and supply of low-quality interferon. Interferon vials worth Rs130 million had been purchased by the health department from a Lahore-based company in 2012 and supplied to all public healthcare centres. However, when the drug was tested at a private laboratory in Peshawar it was found to be below par.
Friday, October 24, 2014
Subtype information is necessary in regards to HCV antiviral treatment. Some medications work better with some of the HCV inhibitors than with others. This is one of the reasons that multiple HCV inhibitors (protease inhibitors, NS5A inhibitors, polymerase inhibitors) are being combined to treat hepatitis C.
Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) expresses concern over these agreements, as these licensing agreements ignore the key middle-income countries that typically experience high burdens of hepatitis C. Approximately 185 million people worldwide are living with with hepatitis C and over 350,000 die annually due to the disease. These deaths could be prevented if access to this life-saving medicine is increased.
UAEM is an international, student-driven non-profit organization dedicated to improving access to medicines worldwide through a combination of university licensing practices, revolutionary research and development practices, and empowering the voices of a new generation of health and science professionals.
The voluntary licensing agreement will allow seven Indian pharmaceutical companies to produce and sell generic versions of sofosbuvir (Sovaldi) and ledipasvir. Sovaldi is currently marketed at US $84,000 for a 12-week treatment course, out of reach for the vast majority in low and middle income countries, even though it could cost only US $68 and $136 to produce in generic form. Gilead’s combination with ledipasivir (Harvoni) is set to sell for an even higher US $94,000 per 12-week treatment. Increasing competition through generic production can effectively reduce prices, increasing access to life-saving medicines for all.
While Gilead’s license is a step toward better access to hepatitis C medicines, they still allow high prices to remain a barrier to a large portion of those with hepatitis C. The licenses exclude 51 middle income countries that account for 49 million people living with hepatitis C (or 1/4 of the global burden). These potentially profitable emerging markets are denied access to affordable generic versions of sofosbuvir. UAEM is strongly concerned by the fact that Gilead’s licenses exclude 49 million of the most vulnerable patients from access to these lifesaving medicines.
(Hep C press release PDF copy)
Press Release Source: http://uaem.org/gileads-hepatitis-c-treatment-license-misses-the-mark-despite-some-increased-competition/
But here's another unforeseen consequence of this epidemic of opioid addiction: hepatitis C. There's been a surge in new users of injection drugs, mainly heroin. Along with it, the CDC reports a surge of new cases of hepatitis C. I spoke with the head of the CDC's division of viral hepatitis, Dr. John Ward, who told me that epidemiologists are still trying to get a handle on this surge. But he called it a new epidemic.