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Alan Franciscus


HCV Advocate

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Rapid expansion of HCV drugs, treatment population signal need for cost controls

A new report found that prescriptions for ledipasvir and sofosbuvir, the newest hepatitis C treatment, are growing rapidly but the minimal reduction in sofosbuvir prescriptions indicates an overall expansion of the eligible treatment population rather than the former drug replacing the latter, according to a press release.

“The high price of these new hepatitis C treatments and the expanding pool of patients receiving treatment signal a growing and costly trend in treating chronic medical conditions with specialty medicines,” Troyen A. Brennan, MD, chief medical officer of CVS Health and report co-author, said in a press release. “Hepatitis C is just the beginning, and we need to prepare now for the time when large numbers of patients could be treated effectively with high-cost medicines for a variety of common and more complex conditions.”

Using CVS/caremark data, the report compares prescriptions for ledipasvir and sofosbuvir (Harvoni, Gilead) with prescriptions for sofosbuvir (Sovaldi, Gilead) during the 8-week period following the launch of each treatment, the release said. The authors found that post-launch prescriptions for ledipasvir and sofosbuvir exceeded 7,500, which is an estimated 2.5 times greater than the 3,000 prescriptions for sofosbuvir. Furthermore, they found that sofosbuvir use has only declined minimally since the launch of ledipasvir and sofosbuvir, suggesting an overall expansion of the eligible treatment population and high utilization of each drug.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Israel: New Hep C treatment tops formulary spending list

Ministry of Health recommends NIS 300 million worth of medications to be subsidized by state in 2015 

The Ministry of Health published Tuesday a list of drugs, medications and new treatments set to be fully or partially subsidized by the state in the year 2015. A special Health Ministry committee debated the formulary for several weeks, finally selecting the treatments late Monday night from nearly NIS 3 billion (about $860 million) worth of medications.

The committee’s recommendations are expected to be passed into law in early 2015.

Close to NIS 300 million (close to $86 million) will be allocated towards the various medications, with nearly a third of the budget dedicated to a new treatment for Hepatitis C.

Top HCV stories of 2014

Hepatitis C virus infection entered a new era this year, following FDA approvals of multiple treatment regimens, and new, groundbreaking clinical data produced by the top researchers in the field. Using web analytics, social media and expert opinion, Healio.com/Hepatology has compiled a list of some of the most important, relevant research and news on hepatitis C virus infection presented during the past year.

FDA approves Harvoni for HCV treatment
Using the breakthrough therapy designation, the FDA approved the first combination pill for treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus genotype 1 that does not require interferon or ribavirin for administration.

Treatment-naive participants showed a 94% sustained virologic response rate after 8 weeks of treatment and a 96% SVR rate after 12 weeks. Treatment-naive patients with and without cirrhosis showed a 99% SVR rate after 12 weeks. Among treatment-experienced participants with and without cirrhosis, ribavirin did not improve response rates in any of the trials.