Initiative Backed by Pharma Delivers Treatments at Low Cost

A new program that academia and foundations run with support from the pharmaceutical industry is looking at curing 25,000 patients with Hepatitis C in Southeast Asia and Africa by giving them better and easier access to new treatments.

The ministries of Health in Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Rwanda have signed up for the easier access to hepatitis C testing followed by treatment with the help of the Quick-Start program that has the goal of curing 25,000 people with the virus over the next two years.

This Quick Start plan is a partnership between the organization Clinton Health Access Initiative or CHAI and Duke Health an academic group. It works in close contact with PharmaAccess Foundation in Amsterdam.

The foundation is establishing treatment projects for PharmaAccess, which has established HCV treatment programs in a number of different locations including projects for treatment in countries located in sub-Saharan Africa.

This month the program was given a boost from the U.S. pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myer Squibb, which said it, was donating its new treatment for HCV known as Daklinza to QuickStart, which builds on other access deals that are similar signed with Roche, Mylan and Hetero.

Daklinza has many licenses in the U.S. including for a disease with a difficult genotype-3 form that is hard to treat and for those already who have an infection of HIV-1.

As some of the meds do not contain full license in the countries, under the QuickStart remit all suppliers have undergone a strict regulatory prequalifying program by the WHO or an Expert Review Panel for the HCV products.

The deals mark the first new step toward bringing the treatment down to an affordable price for low to middle income countries, according to a CHAI released statement.

The goal is to cut costs drastically for diagnosing and for treating patients that are living with HCV in their own countries from as high as $1,570 to as low as $488 per patient a reduction in the cost of between 45% and 70%.


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