Vantage Point: Hepatitis C

Jeff Glor
Jeff Glor

Think of any severely underserved therapeutic area today. What if:

• Efficacy rates around 40% at least doubled;

• Toxicities that crush adherence and prevent many from starting treatment fell drastically;

• The long treatment course decreased to one-fourth its duration;

• And we eliminated the need for injectable therapy?

Either you're thinking it's time to wake up, or you've guessed the area where this metamorphosis is happening: hepatitis C virus.

It started in 2011 with approval of Vertex's Incivek and Merck's Victrelis. The next wave of agents from Gilead, Abbott, BMS, Janssen and others will offer shorter therapy, utility across difficult-to-treat patients, even higher SVR and, the Holy Grail, elimination of injectable, tolerability-busting interferon.

This revolution could take place in less than a five-year stretch.

Who wins? Patients, but the dividends go beyond that. HCPs could see a huge decrease in hours logged toward patient education and side-effect support. Practices that cap the number of patients they treat may be able to significantly increase capacity.  Long-term costs could shrink dramatically.

Much of what's published about the pharma industry has negative connotations.  “Pharma bashing” is popular, with constant talk about how our R&D model is broken, our sales/marketing efforts are obsolete, etc. Fair enough—let's revamp.

But let's celebrate when amazing success stories happen.  The revolution in HCV is a great success. As it became evident that a large HCV+ cohort would likely need medical intervention, pharma responded. And the results could not be more stunning.

Jeff Glor is executive director, BioVid.
You must be a registered member of MMM to post a comment.

Next Article in Features

Email Newsletters

Specialty medicines continue to be a hot category, one in which spending has surged behind products that treat medicine's most complex diseases. This eBook lays out the needs and hurdles along the specialty drug pathway, explaining how stakeholders are working to get meds into patients' hands and ease their experience. Click here to download.