New treatments for HCV: strategies for achieving universal access
Médicine du Monde
A new publication by Médicine du Monde reviews the important of access to new drugs that act directly against hepatitis C.
Approximately 150 million globally are chronically infected with HCV and the pandemic is concentrated in middle-income countries (MICs); while 15% of the 150 million people with chronic HCV live in high-income countries (HICs), 72% live in MICs and 13% in low-income countries (LICs).
HCV-related liver complications kill an estimated 350,000 people annually. Currently, the standard of care is injectable peg-interferon (PEG-IFN) used in combination with ribavirin (RBV). The cure rate is 50-75%, and the treatment is associated with strong side effects. Worldwide, only a tiny percentage of people with HCV have access to treatment.
New treatments recently approved or soon to be authorised will offer a range of advantages compared with their predecessors: multigenotypic activity, fewer side effects, and higher cure rates, including for those in advanced stages of infection. Although these new molecules will improve the quality of life of people with HCV and increase the number of people cured, their price will be out of reach of most of the people who need it.