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

 

Anniversaries: Vivid Memories Four Years After Christchurch Quake

Four years ago, an earthquake that would change the lives of thousands shook Christchurch at 12.51 p.m. More>>

ALSO:

Environment 'n' Conservation: Slash Meets Tāne The Tuatara

Rock and Roll superstar and former Guns 'n' Roses guitarist Slash visited Zealandia Ecosanctuary along with collaborating band Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. More>>

Foo Fighters: Exclusive Show In Support Of Music Foundation

Frontier Touring has today announced that the Foo Fighters will play a last minute intimate and exclusive benefit show at the Auckland Town Hall this Friday February 20 with all profits going to The New Zealand Music Foundation. More>>

ALSO:

Canterbury Quakes: Feedback Sought On Short-Listed Memorial Designs

Six short-listed designs for the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial have been released for public input... The Memorial will honour the victims of Canterbury’s earthquakes and acknowledge the suffering of all those who lived through them as well as the heroism of those who participated in the rescue and recovery operations. More>>

ALSO:

Celia Lashlie: Legacy Will Live On

Social justice advocate Celia Lashlie leaves a legacy that will continue to have a positive impact on the lives of New Zealanders for years to come, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Celia was a powerful voice for reason, sense and compassion. Her work, particularly with teenage boys, was ground-breaking." More>>

ALSO:

Obituary: Sad Farewell To PPTA Activist Robin Duff

Duff has been a long-time fixture of the association... Most recently Duff has been working hard to support Canterbury teachers through the quakes that devastated the region. More>>

ALSO:

Poroporoaki: Dr Apirana Tuahae Kaukapakapa Mahuika

Papa Api was a man of many great gifts and occupied a long list of roles including priest, teacher, scholar, politician, and leader. Chair of Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou, and a rangatira of his iwi... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news