Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hey Doc, Victrelis-boceprevir or Incivek-telaprevir?

While we're all waiting for the AASLD to give us new data on Victrelis-Null Responders, INCIVEK™ (telaprevir) and VX-222, plus a few new drugs that are currently in clinical trials, I jumped ship and swam over to a couple of my favorite sites.

Okay, the deal is - they're both sites that investors visit, there I said it. Pharmalot and FiercePharma, I love it over there, its not only entertaining, its exciting.

Friday, I ran across an article published @ Pharmalot and its worth reading, but then I read everything Mr. Ed. Silverman publishes on his site.

The article was written for Vertex investors, I know, we only care about SVR, however Telaprevir was discussed, so I read it with great enthusiasm and little guilt.

The Article; The Hepatitis C Wars: What Docs Are Saying

Poor investors, they seem to be nervous, I guess the uncertainty of Vertex, in particular the drug telaprevir has them wondering if the drug has room for growth. Not to worry, it seems a market research firm didn't have the numbers right. You see, at first it seemed new prescriptions for our hepatitis c drug-telaprevir has bottomed out, however the site went on to note the data was incomplete because mail-order activity for the last two weeks of September was not included. Who knew ?

I don't know what all this means, or even if I have it right, and who cares? But, this I do care about, the mention by Mr. Silverman of the survey from Decision Resources, as noted;

"Incivek beat Victrelis on higher SVR, shorter duration and simpler protocol, the perception of superior efficacy was countered by concerns with rash, according to Decision Resources. “While it’s too soon to tell, Victrelis may fill a niche for patients who prefer it’s side effect profile,” the firm reports.

Okay, so we already know all this, still I was able to spend a few moments at a favorite site feeling smarter then I am, you can read the article here.
To read more about the two drugs click here.

The bottom line is investors may make money off these new drugs, but people living with HCV will be given something money can't buy. A life, a life without disease, a life without HCV.

This is the real deal, tens of thousands of people with HCV are getting ready to treat. The sad fact is a large percentage of these people in the US are yet to be diagnosed. In the November 2010 edition of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology researchers reported that approximately 180 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C, in the US the numbers run between 4.1 and 5 million. The data also mentioned that in the first 10–20 years of the disease people may not have symptoms ( HCV has symptoms folks, but most people ignore them) which explains why an estimated 75% of infections remain undiagnosed in the United States.

After being diagnosed, or already diagnosed, starting therapy takes time. Especially if you're waiting to treat outside the US, in Canada for instance INCIVEK(TM) (telaprevir) was only made available this week. Even if you live in the US, it takes a few months to get all the preliminary tests out of the way.

Anyhoo, the other popular site I frequent is FiercePharma , which two months ago ran this survey by Sermo; Looking for answers to this question- Which new hepatitis C drugs do MDs prefer?

If you haven't read it, check it out.

Which New Hepatitis C Drug do MDs Prefer?:

Incivek (telaprevir) vs. Victrelis (boceprevir)

Published on August 10, 2011


Physicians were provided three recent news articles about Incivek (telaprevir) and Victrelis (boceprevir) and asked to compare these two new hepatitis C drugs:

  • Gauge the awareness level and use of these new treatments
  • Evaluate the "real-life" efficacy of each drug with current patients
  • Predict which product will become the standard of care

Executive Summary

  • Overall, more than 90% of surveyed physicians confirmed that they are aware of the approval and availability of both Incivek and Victrelis.
  • 21% of physicians are only prescribing Incivek compared to 8% who are only writing Victrelis.
  • Efficacy was listed as the top strength for both drugs. MDs identified the following individual strengths for each drug:
    • Incivek: Often Shorter Duration of Treatment Plan, Simple Regimen/Fewer Pills
    • Victrelis: Less Frequent Rash, Tolerability
  • 34% of physicians tapped Incivek to become Standard of Care (SOC)

MD Awareness of New Hepatitis C Drugs

Over 90% of MD respondents were aware that both Incivek and Victrelis are approved and available for use to treat hepatitis C.

Awareness of Incivek

Awareness of Victrelis

Percentage of MDs Prescribing Each Drug

  • Over half of physicians are already prescribing both new drugs
  • Of those physicians who are only prescribing one drug, 21% are prescribing Incivek; while only 8% are writing Victrelis

Physicians Identified Top Strengths of Incivek

  • MD respondents selected efficacy as top strength of Incivek
  • Strengths listed for Incivek over Victrelis included: Often Shorter Duration of Tx and Simple Regimen/Fewer Pills

Physicians Identified Top Strengths of Victrelis

  • MD respondents selected efficacy as top strength of Victrelis
  • Strengths listed for Victrelis over Incivek included: Less Frequent Rash and Tolerability

Patients Response to Both Drugs

  • Physicians asked for more data from Victrelis on co-infected patients as well as more data from both drugs on efficacy in HIV+ patients

Physicians Weigh in on Standard of Care

  • 34% of physicians tapped Incivek to become Standard of Care
  • 55% of physicians were unsure if either of these products would be the next Standard of Care

Physicians Explain Responses to Standard of Care Question

Post Comments from Physicians

"I am using it primarily for now for treatment relapsers and non responders genotype 1 who has been waiting for such meds, for sure the data is impressive but the side effects are major drawback of those meds on top of number of pills per day."

-Infectious Disease Physician

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Sermo has published a host of additional free research reports.
Click on the button below to browse the archive on Sermo's website.

If you have questions regarding the results

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