Generic Antivirals Equally Effective to Brand Rx in Hep C

April 2016 (HealthDay News)

Inexpensive antivirals could be a game-changer in many countries, researchers say

Low-cost generic antiviral drugs are as effective and safe as more expensive brand-name drugs in treating people with hepatitis C, according to a study presented at the International Liver Congress, held from April 13 to 17 in Barcelona, Spain.

The study of patients in the United States, Canada, Africa, Australia, Europe, and Southeast Asia found that generic direct-acting antiviral drugs sofosbuvir (Sovaldi), ledipasvir, daclatasvir (Daklinza), and ribavirin (Rebetol) were as effective as brand-name versions.

A full course of brand-name direct-acting antiviral medication that costs $94,000 a patient in the United States can be obtained in generic form for less than $1,000. And, a 12-week course of treatment could cost as little as $200 in coming years, the researchers said in a meeting news release.

“At the price level of generic direct-acting antivirals, treating the entire global hepatitis C epidemic could be financially feasible,” study author James Freeman, M.B., B.S., of GP2U Telehealth in Hobart, Australia, said in the news release. “Furthermore, if a patient is cured of hepatitis C, there is evidence for improved survival and lower risks of liver cancer and liver cirrhosis.”

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