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

 

Review: Singin’ In The Rain

Singin’ in the Rain , the wet and wonderful musical production all the way from London’s West End, officially opened at St. James Theatre in Wellington. More>>

Francis Cook: Gallipoli: The Scale Of Our War – First Look

Te Papa today allowed media access to their new exhibition Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War . The exhibition was curated with help from Weta Workshop to deliver an immersive, realistic and even disorienting experience. More>>

ALSO:

Bats Theatre: Letters From The Front Brings ANZAC Letters Alive

Inspired by centenary commemorations, improv troupe Best on Tap is producing a show based on real-life letters sent to and from New Zealand soldiers in the First World War. More>>

ALSO:

Publishing: Unity Books On Plan To Close Te Papa Press

Unity Books is alarmed that Te Papa is proposing to suspend publishing by Te Papa Press for 4 or 5 years. Te Papa Press has proven time and time again that it has both award and bestseller capability and fulfils its kaupapa. More>>

ALSO:

Cinema: ‘The Desk’ Featuring Paul Henry To Have NZ Debut

The Documentary Edge Festival is thrilled to announce The Desk as a late entry to its 2015 Programme. The film, featuring local broadcaster Paul Henry, will have its international premiere on May 21 at 10pm at Q Theatre (book now at qtheatre.co.nz) with limited screenings also on offer in Wellington and Auckland. More>>

ALSO:

Art: Considering Feminisms In Aotearoa New Zealand: Two Projects

Feminism is something that has changed our lives. Recently, the activist Marilyn Waring reviewed the impact of feminism in Aotearoa New Zealand and reminded us that just 40 years ago banks wouldn’t lend women money without the guarantee of a man, ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news