March 26, 2012, 4:42 p.m. EDT
MONTREAL, March 26, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Province to reimburse new chronic hepatitis C treatment
BC PharmaCare recently announced the reimbursement of VICTRELIS™ (boceprevir) for eligible British Columbians living with chronic hepatitis C.
Boceprevir is a first-in-class oral hepatitis C virus (HCV) protease inhibitor for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C genotype 1 infection. It is to be used in combination with peginterferon alpha and ribavirin (peg/riba) in adult patients (18 years and older) with compensated liver disease, including cirrhosis, who are previously untreated or who have failed previous therapy.1 When added to peg/riba, boceprevir can significantly increase a patient's chance of clearing the virus from the body.2,3 The treatment was authorized for use in Canada in July 2011.
"This is most welcome news as British Columbia has one of the heaviest burdens of chronic hepatitis C in Canada," says Dr. Eric Yoshida, hepatologist and Professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. "Boceprevir represents a major advance in the treatment of this infection. We now have the ability to cure this disease for a majority of patients, and therefore reduce the risk of premature mortality from end-stage cirrhosis and liver cancer. British Columbia is the third province to offer patients with chronic hepatitis C infection public access to this potentially life-saving treatment."
Eligibility criteria for boceprevir can be accessed through the following link: http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/pharmacare/sa/criteria/restricted/boceprevir.html
Hepatitis C in Canada and British Columbia An estimated 250,000 individuals in Canada are infected with HCV and there are 3,200 to 5,000 newly infected individuals each year.4 About 2,500 new cases of HCV are identified in British Columbia each year.5 HCV damages the liver and may lead to serious complications, including death, when left untreated.6 It is the leading cause of liver transplants in Canada.7
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1VICTRELIS™, Product Monograph, July 27, 2011, p. 3. 2Poordad, F., et al., for the SPRINT-2 Investigators. Boceprevir for Untreated Chronic HCV Genotype 1 Infection. N Engl J Med 2011; 364:1195-1206, page 1195. 3Bacon, B.R., et al., for the HCV RESPOND-2 Investigators. Boceprevir for Previously Treated Chronic HCV Genotype 1 Infection. N Engl J Med 2011; 364:1207-1217, p. 1207. 4Canadian Institutes of Health Research. About the Hep C Research Initiative. http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/38855.html . Accessed November 2, 2011. 5 HealthLinkBC. http://www.healthlinkbc.ca/dietitian/hfile40a.stm . Accessed March 15, 2011. 6Public Health Agency of Canada. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hepc/pubs/multiling-hepc/index-eng.php . Accessed November 2, 2011. 7Canadian Liver Foundation. http://www.liver.ca/Liver_Disease/ . Accessed November 2, 2011.