The Week in Review: June 2 – June 9, 2017

Friday, June 9, 2017 News Recap Somebody Pinch Me This week saw the release of a report from the Cochrane Collaboration which concluded not only that DAAs were ineffective but that they might also be bad for you and not even cure HCV.  The news item was picked up by various media outlets and was hard to miss (No valid evidence $40,000 miracle drug cures hepatitis C – study).  Thankfully other researchers from around the world jumped in on this poor ...

WHO recommends Epclusa, a Hepatitis C Combined Therapy in Just One Pill

A combined treatment for hepatitis C based on sofosbuvir and velpatasvir (brand name Epclusa) is among the additions to the World Health Organization (WHO) Model List of Essential Medicines (EML) for 2017. Velpatasvir is an antiviral drug that inhibits a viral protein called NS5A. This drug prevents the replication of the virus and the assembly of new virus particles. Sofosbuvir, which already was included in the previous EML, targets another protein in t

Just 20% of people living with hep C are aware of their status

WHO's hepatitis report reveals global impact of the disease. Awareness and education around hepatitis remain poor, with just 20% of people living with hep C aware of their status after getting tested, according to a new report. The World Health Organization’s first-of-its-kind investigation of the global hepatitis situation also found that only 9% of people living with hepatitis B knew they were affected. Between them the two strains account for 96% of

Cases of hepatitis B and C hit 325 million: WHO

An estimated 325 million people are living with hepatitis B or C and few are aware of their condition, with death tolls from the viruses rising, the UN said Friday. The World Health Organization's latest hepatitis report identifies the condition as a grave public health threat that needs an "urgent response." Hepatitis killed 1.34 million people in 2015, a toll roughly in-line with HIV and tuberculosis. But in contrast to HIV and TB, hepatitis death

WHO prequalifies first generic active ingredient for hepatitis C medicines

On 31 March 2017, WHO for the first time prequalified a generic active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) for hepatitis C – sofosbuvir. Sofosbuvir is an essential ingredient for new, highly effective medicines to treat hepatitis C called direct active antivirals (DAAs). The prequalified product’s manufacturer is Mylan Laboratories Ltd - INDIA. The emergence of DAAs in 2014 gave new hope to the 80-110 million people suffering from chronic hepatitis C, a disea

Universal Health Coverage—looking to the future

Editorial: The Lancet Volume 388, No. 10062, p2837, 10 December 2016 DOI: Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is defined by WHO and the World Bank as when “all people receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship when paying for them”. UHC is central to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in September, 2015, with a specified target in SDG 3—ensure healthy lives and

First WHO prequalified hepatitis C rapid test opens the door to expanded treatment

WHO has just prequalified its first hepatitis C virus (HCV) rapid diagnostic test, a tool that will aid diagnosis of HCV in low- and middle-income countries and improve access to treatment. [Note: This is not an oral swab] “The fact that we now have very effective new medicines for HCV needs to be bolstered by effective and affordable diagnostics,” said Dr Suzanne Hill, WHO Director for Essential Medicines and Health Products. “This new quality-assured te

Over 1 million treated with highly effective hepatitis C medicines

High prices–a major barrier to access News release 27 October 2016 | GENEVA - Over one million people in low- and middle-income countries have been treated with a revolutionary new cure for hepatitis C since its introduction two years ago. When Direct Acting Antivirals (DAAs) were first approved for hepatitis C treatment in 2013, there were widespread fears that their high price would put them out of reach for the more than 80 million people w

Prisons: The Problem and Solution of Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is curable; however, getting rid of the infection does not take away accompanying liver risks. In addition, many people who are infected don’t even know it – making eradication a distant, but possible, future. Peter Vickerman, BSc, DPhil, from Bristol University’s Division of Global Public Health, and colleagues from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia looked at a population in which transmission is common and learned s

A Comprehensive And Fair Solution To The Price Of Medicines

After a long dry spell, the pharmaceutical research industry has brought to market a spate of innovative treatments that can extend life and often have fewer side effects than older treatments. But these medicines are not affordable to most of the people who need them. Recent treatments for hepatitis C and cancer - both widespread conditions globally - can cost from $50,000 annually to well over $150,000. Amid public outcry, political battles and medi