Merck expects to discontinue the manufacturing and distribution of its inhibitor boceprevir for the treatment of hepatitis C virus by December, according to a company spokesperson.
Boceprevir (Victrelis, Merck) is a prescribed medication to be used in combination with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin to treat adults with chronic HCV genotype 1 infection with compensated liver disease, including cirrhosis, who have not been treated before or who have failed previous treatment.
The reason for the discontinuance is due to recent developments in treatment for HCV and a dwindling demand for the drug, according to Sarra S. Herzog, a spokesperson for Merck.
“Merck plans to discontinue commercial supply of Victrelis in the United States due to advances in the treatment practices for chronic HCV infection, and the consequent reduction in demand for Victrelis,” Herzog told HCV Next via email. “This action is a business decision, and is not due to the safety or efficacy profile of this product.”
Merck will continue to supply the drug to wholesalers through December 2015 on an as-needed basis, according to Herzog, to ensure that all patients currently undergoing therapy can complete the 48 weeks of treatment.
Patients currently taking boceprevir will not be affected by the discontinuance. However, Merck does not recommend new patients begin the treatment.
“This decision applies only to the availability of Victrelis in the United States and does not impact supply or availability in other nations,” Herzog said.
Victrelis was approved by the FDA in May 2011. – by Melinda Stevens
Source: Merck Statement