Monday, May 28, 2012

Victrelis-MSD offers new treatment for hepatitis C

MSD offers new treatment for hepatitis C
Dubai: 33 minutes ago

MSD, a global healthcare leader, today launched a new hepatitis C treatment that could provide a life line to thousands of UAE citizens.

Up to 2 per cent of the UAE population suffers from hepatitis C, with many of them failing to be successfully treated by the current standard therapy of peginterferon alfa and ribivan, said a statement from the company.

Specifically designed to address this portion of the UAE population, Victrelis is the first in a new class of medications that focus on the treatment of chronic hepatitis C and is specifically indicated in adult patients who have compensated liver disease, who have not received treatment for the disease previously or who have not achieved success in previous treatment therapies, the statement said.

Talking about the important impact that Victrelis will have on the prevalence of hepatitis C in the UAE, Andrew Miles, managing director, MSD Gulf region, said: "Every year over 800,000 people in the Eastern Mediterranean region are newly diagnosed with hepatitis C. In the UAE estimates suggest that as many as 14 out of every 100,000 suffers from hepatitis C, with rates at their highest in Abu Dhabi, where incidence could be as much as 23 out of every 100,000 people. One of the greatest dangers of hepatitis C and the reasons that many UAE citizens may find that their condition is chronic by the time they are diagnosed, is that the disease is often very difficult to detect, particularly because many people are asymptomatic in the early stages.

“Today, it is estimated that as many as 69,000 UAE citizens may suffer from chronic hepatitis, Victrelis will have a significant impact on addressing the medical needs of this sector of society,” he said.

Dr Salim Awadh Sabih Al Khathiry, consultant gastroenterologist and hepatologist at Al Jazeira Hospital and Mafraq Hospital in Abu Dhabi, said: “Hepatitis C places a substantial financial burden upon patients, local communities and the UAE economy at large. Estimates suggest that to treat just one UAE patient with current standard treatment of peginterferon alfa and ribavirin could cost as much as Dh80,000 per year, with an additional Dh100,000 being added to treat chronic liver disease and the complications it results in.

“Victrelis which works through hepatitis C protease inhibitors, is the first of its kind in the UAE market and clinical trials have shown that when used in combination with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin in patients who were previously untreated or who had failed previous treatment therapies, Victrelis had a significantly higher chance of achieving a virological cure, than current standard therapies; a fact that could significantly reduce the overall financial burden, that patients face,” he said. – TradeArabia News Service

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