Tuesday, March 21, 2017

ZEPATIER® now covered in Quebec for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C 

ZEPATIER® now covered in Quebec for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C 

KIRKLAND, QC, March 21, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - Merck Canada Inc. today announced that ZEPATIER® (elbasvir/grazoprevir) will be listed among the drugs covered by Quebec's health insurance board, the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ), as of March 22. Quebec joins other jurisdictions that have approved the product for reimbursement under their public healthcare plans for chronic hepatitis C patients presenting with recognized criteria. Zepatier is indicated for the treatment of chronic infection by genotypes 1, 3 or 4 of the hepatitis C virus in adults.

The product monograph, including detailed product information and indication, is available online by clicking here.

"This announcement reflects the hepatitis C agreement between Merck and the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA). We are proud to contribute a solution in the fight against this disease, all the while helping reduce the cost pressure on the healthcare system," says Chirfi Guindo, President and Managing Director of Merck Canada Inc.

Hepatitis C patients without significant hepatic fibrosis who present with certain comorbidities or specific conditions will be eligible for the treatment, including those who have chronic kidney disease, who are co-infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or the hepatitis B virus (HBV), who have undergone an organ transplant or who present with extrahepatic manifestations of the disease.

"Zepatier, which was approved in Canada in 2016 for cirrhotic and non-cirrhotic patients with a genotype 1a, 1b or 4 infection who were not previously treated or who experienced relapse after previous treatment meets the unmet needs of some groups, including renally impaired and dialysis patients," adds Dr. Marc Poliquin, a gastroenterologist with the Clinique médicale du Quartier Latin. "It also makes it possible to continue simple anti-reflux treatments, especially for patients who cannot change their acid reflux therapy without interfering with the effectiveness of hepatitis C treatment."

If not treated in time, hepatitis C can lead to serious complications, such as cirrhosis, liver cancer or the need for a liver transplant.2 In 2013, costs related to HCV complications were estimated at $161.4 million in Canada (estimates range from $85.4 million to $251.5 million).

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