Generic direct-acting antiviral regimens for hepatitis C can be manufactured for $50 and are as effective as branded medicines, according to data presented at the World Hepatitis Summit 2017 in São Paulo, Brazil.
“As there are around 70 million people infected with hepatitis C worldwide, the basic cost of the drugs to treat everyone infected globally, at $50 each, would be around U.S. $3.5 billion,” Andrew Hill, PhD, from the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom said in a related press release. “Much more must be done to enable all countries — but especially developing countries — to produce or buy drugs for these lower prices. Without significant changes to pricing structures, the battle against the global hepatitis C epidemic simply can’t be won.”
According to Hill and colleagues, the 12-week course of sofosbuvir combined with daclatasvir ranges from $78 in India, to $174 in Egypt, $6,000 in Australia, $77,000 in the United Kingdom, up to $96,404 in the U.S. However, the basic cost of the active ingredients, formulation and packaging costs is less than $50 per course, including a small profit margin for the generic companies.
The researchers also analyzed the efficacy of generic DAAs in 1,160 patients. Results showed sustained virologic response rates over 90%, comparable with branded products.
“In 2016, for every person cured of hepatitis C globally (1.76 million), another person was newly infected (1.5 million),” Hill said. “We simply cannot eliminate this epidemic unless we treat more people. And we can only do this if the prices of the drugs come down.” – by Talitha Bennett
Hill A, et al. What price for what drug: is there a science to it? Presented at: The World Hepatitis Summit 2017; Nov. 1-3, 2017; São Paulo, Brazil.
Disclosure: Healio.com/Hepatology was unable to determine relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.