News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Genetic markers being used to target oral hepatitis C drug

Please note embargo:

Pharmac_P540c

Genetic markers being used to target new oral hepatitis C drug

A person’s genetic makeup will be used to target a new funded oral treatment for hepatitis C patients from 1 September.

PHARMAC will begin funding boceprevir (Victrelis) from 1 September 2013 for certain patients with the chronic liver infection. Boceprevir will be funded when used as a triple therapy in combination with pegylated interferon with ribavirin.

PHARMAC Medical Director Dr Peter Moodie says many hepatitis C patients do not respond well to current treatments, but that this could improve with the addition of boceprevir.

“Clinical evidence shows that, given the genetic characteristics of a patient, a simple genetic test can fairly accurately predict how they might respond to treatment,” says Dr Moodie.

“There is a group who we know respond poorly to current treatment. They are the ones we think will benefit most from the addition of this new treatment.”

About 25-35% of patients with certain genes showed a sustained response to the currently available treatment of pegylated interferon and ribavirin. By adding boceprevir to the treatment of these patients, the response rate increases to 70–75%.

As well as adding greater effectiveness to available treatments, Dr Moodie says boceprevir is the first funded oral treatment specifically for hepatitis C.

Patients will be genetically tested to determine whether they qualify for boceprevir (in combination with pegylated interferon and ribavirin) as a first-line treatment.

Boceprevir will also be funded for people who have tried but not responded completely to a course of pegylated interferon and ribavirin.

Dr Moodie says though many people live with hepatitis C without ever knowing it, the infection can cause significant health issues including hepatocellular carcinoma, liver failure, which may require a liver transplant.

Pharmacological treatment aims to reduce the likelihood of these transplants being required. In total, PHARMAC expects around 300 patients to start triple therapy in the next year.

In addition to funding boceprevir, PHARMAC has negotiated a price reduction for the Pegasys brand of pegylated interferon with ribavirin. Together, the funding of these hepatitis C treatments will cost $17.8 million over five years, with some of this cost being refunded through confidential rebates negotiated with both suppliers.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Auckland: St. Jerome's Laneway Festival - Line-Up Announced

Traversing seven cities and three countries, the festival has well and truly settled into its home in each state. From the grassy knolls and towering silos at home in Auckland, to the sparkling backdrop of the Maribyrnong... More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: No Longer An Island

Simon Nathan reviews 'Zealandia: Our Continent Revealed': The idea that New Zealand is part of a large submerged continent is not new... There was renewed interest in the extent of offshore New Zealand from the 1970s onwards with the start of offshore drilling for oil and gas, and this was given impetus by a UN agreement which allowed countries to claim an Extended Continental Shelf (ECS). More>>

Art: Simon Denny Recreates Kim Dotcom’s Personal Effects

Who owns what? How has the internet changed our relation to the world? These are two of the many questions Simon Denny raises in the latest exhibition at the Adam Art Gallery, opening on Saturday 4 October. More>>

Theatre: The F Word: Sex Without The 'ism'

Sex without the 'ism' Okay, so the sexes are equal in the eyes of the law. What the F happens now? More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Don’t Eat The Fish

On 'The Catch' by Michael Field What the ecologically edible lists don’t appear to take into account – and they should – is slavery... It’s not an easy read, but it’s definitely near the top of my listicle of “5 Political Books You Must Read This Year”. More>>

ALSO:

Caracals: Small Cats With Big Ears Arrive At Wellington Zoo

Visitors to Wellington Zoo will be able to see New Zealand’s first Caracals in the Zoo’s new Grassland Cats habitat, with a special visitor opening day on Saturday 27 September. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: Classics - Tales From Moominvalley
Can’t speak for the reading end of it but the Moomins ( or maybe the story about Margaret Wise Brown) were the most enjoyable subject to think about and write about during these whole first 50 issues of Werewolf. For that reason – and because the Moomins always reward re-reading – I’ve decided to reprint it. The only added element is a link to an interesting hour long documentary about Tove Jansson. More>>

ALSO:

Repping In The Pacific: All Blacks And Manu Samoa To Play Historic Apia Test

The All Blacks will play Manu Samoa in Apia on Wednesday 8 July next year as part of both teams’ preparations for Rugby World Cup 2015. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news