FUTURE GENERIC HEPATITIS C TREATMENT IN THE USA
Hepatitis is one of the most prevalent diseases in America. It is basically an inflammatory condition of the liver usually caused by a viral infection. It is of different types like A, B, C, D and E and hepatitis C is most common amongst them. As of now, there is no vaccine for Hepatitis C Treatment and it is highly contagious. The WHO estimates that 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C. In the USA alone more than 3 million people suffer from chronic hepatitis C. There are 17,000 new cases each year in the USA, many of which go unreported. Considering the spread and severity of the disease multiple generic treatment options are available and many more time. This article will give you a glance at the upcoming generic treatments for the “hepatitis C infection”.
Common treatments for Hepatitis C:
Acute infection can be cured without any treatment in about 25 out of 100 patients. Antiviral drugs are used otherwise along with plenty of rest, drinking fluids and eating a healthy diet. The common treatment for chronic hepatitis C is antiviral medications where treatments involve daily medications for 12 weeks.
The commonly used drug combination in the USA is – Pegylated interferon and Ribavirin base along with either Telaprevir or Boceprevir. It usually costs about $70,000 for a full course of therapy. Gilead Pharmaceuticals manufacture drugs like Sovaldi ($84,000), Harvoni ($95,000) and Epclusa ($75,000) are being largely used across the United States for hepatitis C treatment.
Generic drugs in the market:
Abbvie pharmaceuticals were the first to lower price of hepatitis C drug by selling its product Mavyret at $26,500 (whole course). It is, however, going to stop the manufacture of other drugs like Technivie and Viekira XR (Viekira Pak not included) which will be available in the market only till January 1, 2019. This decision is closely after a similar stand by the pharma company Janssen, to pull out its Hep C drug Olysio from the markets in May 2018. Under these circumstances, Gilead is planning to introduce generic versions of Harvoni and Epclusa in January 2019. The price of these two drugs will drop from the original value to about $24,000 (for full course). The demand for drugs like Epclusa and Vosevi are increasing since they are effective for all genotypes.
Agencies like Evercore ISI predict that this move by Gilead could lead to a major round of pricing changes amongst the competitors in the Hep C drug market.
What is Impact on the patients?
Even though medical insurance schemes in the USA is well defined and successful, hepatitis treatment is often found to be difficult for the average American. Insurance companies often deny treatment options for Hep C patients due to the high costs incurred during the full course of the treatment which normally spans up to 3 months. With the introduction of the generic versions of the “Hep C medications”, the patients will get approval from the insurance companies and are guaranteed treatment. This move could, in fact, reduce the number of hepatitis C cases across the USA. Since there will be a greater number of patients getting diagnosed in the early stages.
Now, physicians hope to improve the morbidity rates of Hep C patients with the prospects of generic treatments coming along in 2019. Early diagnosis along with the availability of better treatment options could save many lives across the country.