March 26, 2015

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-- Sovaldi Part of First All-Oral Treatment Regimen for Genotype 2 Patients in Japan --

-- 96 Percent Cure Rates and Shortened, 12-Week Course of Therapy --

FOSTER CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mar. 26, 2015-- Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Nasdaq:GILD) today announced that the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) has approved Sovaldi® (sofosbuvir), a once-daily nucleotide analog polymerase inhibitor, for the suppression of viremia in patients with genotype 2 chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection with or without compensated cirrhosis. Sovaldi is indicated for use in combination with ribavirin (RBV) for 12 weeks. Sovaldi (in combination with RBV) is the first all-oral, interferon-free treatment regimen for genotype 2 HCV infection. Sovaldi is also the first product to be marketed by Gilead in Japan.

“Today’s approval represents an important step forward in the management of hepatitis C in Japan, enabling genotype 2 infected patients the opportunity of a cure in 12 weeks with an all-oral regimen that eliminates the need for interferon,” said Masao Omata, MD, Yamanashi Prefectural Hospital Organization.

Primarily due to HCV, Japan has one of the highest rates of liver cancer of any industrialized country. Of the more than one million people chronically infected with HCV, 20-30 percent have the genotype 2 strain of the virus. Currently approved therapies in Japan for genotype 2 HCV infection involve 24-48 weeks of injections with pegylated interferon, which may not be suitable for many patients.

Sovaldi’s approval is supported by data from a Phase 3 clinical trial conducted in Japan (Study GS-US-334-0118) among treatment-naïve and treatment-experienced genotype 2 patients. Approval was based on 96 percent (n=135/140) of genotype 2 HCV-infected patients who received 12 weeks of an all-oral regimen of Sovaldi plus RBV 600–1,000 mg/day achieving a sustained virologic response 12 weeks after completing therapy (SVR12). Patients who achieve SVR12 are considered cured of HCV infection. The approval is also supported by SVR12 results from four international Phase 3 studies (FISSION, FUSION, POSITRON and VALENCE), which included genotype 2 HCV patients.

“There is a need in Japan for new HCV treatment options that are more effective and better tolerated and we have been pleased to partner with the medical community here in Japan to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of Sovaldi,” said Norbert Bischofberger, PhD, Gilead’s Executive Vice President, Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer. “We look forward to making Sovaldi available in Japan as quickly as possible, while simultaneously continuing to work with the agency on its review of our second application for an all-oral sofosbuvir-based regimen for the treatment of genotype 1 HCV infection.”

Gilead filed a New Drug Application (NDA) in Japan for a single-tablet regimen of sofosbuvir and the NS5A inhibitor ledipasvir for the treatment of genotype 1 HCV infected patients on September 24, 2014. The ledipasvir/sofosbuvir single tablet regimen is an investigational product in Japan and its safety and efficacy have not yet been established.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

Use with potent P gp inducers: Drugs that are potent P-gp inducers in the intestine are expected to decrease sofosbuvir plasma concentration. Sovaldi is contraindicated in patients receiving the following substances: carbamazepine, phenytoin, rifampicin or St. John’s wort. Also, Sovaldi should be administered with care when coadministered with the following drugs: rifabutin, and phenobarbital.

Contraindications: Sovaldi is contraindicated in patients with severe renal function impairment (eGFR<30 mL/min/1.73m2) or patients with renal insufficiency requiring dialysis.

Anemia occurred in patients receiving Sovaldi in combination with ribavirin. Patients should be carefully observed and hemoglobin should be periodically monitored and appropriate measures should be taken including ribavirin dose adjusted according to the ribavirin package insert. If ribavirin is permanently discontinued, Sovaldi should also be discontinued.

Adverse reactions: In the Japanese Phase 3 clinical study, 61 of 140 (43.6 percent) patients experienced adverse reactions, including abnormal laboratory test values. The major adverse reactions were 21 anemia/hemoglobin decreased (15.0 percent), 7 headache (5.0 percent), 6 malaise (4.3 percent), 6 nausea (4.3 percent), and 6 pruritus (4.3 percent).

About Gilead

Gilead Sciences is a biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative therapeutics in areas of unmet medical need. The company’s mission is to advance the care of patients suffering from life-threatening diseases. Gilead has operations in more than 30 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California.

Forward-Looking Statement

This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, including the risk that physicians and patients may not see advantages of Sovaldi over other therapies and may therefore be reluctant to prescribe the product, and the risk that payers may be reluctant to approve or provide reimbursement for the product. Further, the ledipasvir/sofosbuvir single tablet regimen may not be approved in Japan in the currently anticipated timelines or at all, and approval, if granted, may have significant limitations on its use. These risks, uncertainties and other factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those referred to in the forward-looking statements. The reader is cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements. These and other risks are described in detail in Gilead’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014, as filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to Gilead, and Gilead assumes no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements.

U.S. full Prescribing Information for Sovaldi and Harvoni is available at www.gilead.com.
Sovaldi and Harvoni are registered trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies.

For more information on Gilead Sciences, please visit the company’s website at www.gilead.com, follow Gilead on Twitter (@GileadSciences) or call Gilead Public Affairs at 1-800-GILEAD-5 or 1-650-574-3000.

Source: Gilead Sciences, Inc.

Gilead Sciences, Inc.
Investors:
Patrick O’Brien, +1 650-522-1936
Media:
Cara Miller, +1 650-522-1616
Seiko Noma, +81-3-6837-0790 (Japan)

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March 25, 2015

B.C covers two curative hepatitis C drugs

Monday, March 23, 2015 3:00 PM

VICTORIA - British Columbia is providing public drug plan coverage of two new, often curative, hepatitis C drugs effective March 24, 2015, announced Minister of Health Terry Lake today.

People with hepatitis C will be able to apply tomorrow for coverage under B.C.’s PharmaCare program of Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) and Harvoni (ledipasvir and sofosbuvir). These new medications cure about 90% or more of people treated; are easier to take; involve a much shorter course of treatment; and have fewer side effects than older drugs.

“These two new drugs can utterly change the lives of people with hepatitis C for the better,” said B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake. “These drugs represent a significant advance in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C, and more British Columbians affected by this virus now have significantly better odds of becoming free of the disease.”

British Columbia and Ontario jointly led negotiations with the drugs’ manufacturer through the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA). The alliance’s process allows participating provinces and territories to leverage their collective buying power and negotiate better prices for new drugs.

“This is another example of the power of our collective action, when we choose to work as one,” said Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Dr. Eric Hoskins. “By working collectively to leverage our joint buying-power, we have been able to expand access for patients in a responsible way that makes our health-care system more sustainable.”

Each participating jurisdiction can choose whether to accept the deal and cover the drugs on their public drug plans. Prices and terms for this negotiation are confidential.

Sovaldi treats hepatitis C genotypes 1, 2, and 3, and was approved for sale by Health Canada in late 2013. Harvoni treats genotype 1, and was approved for sale in late 2014.

Many older hepatitis C treatments often have difficult side effects; one such treatment, peginterferon, is injected under the skin as well. Older drugs also have various cure rates for those able to tolerate the side effects. Both Harvoni and Sovaldi are swallowed as a pill, and have far fewer side effects.

“This is incredibly welcome news for people living with hepatitis C in B.C. and their families,” said Daryl Luster, president of the board of the Pacific Hepatitis C Network. “As a person who treated with interferon and ribavirin, I know how difficult those older therapies are. The hepatitis C community is excitedly anticipating the change these new game-changing medications will bring to thousands of people living with hepatitis C in British Columbia.”

PharmaCare will cover Sovaldi or Harvoni for people who meet certain criteria. For example, people who have never before been treated for hepatitis C or who have failed treatment with older drugs may be eligible for coverage.

The B.C. Ministry of Health expects to cover treatment for about 1,500 people in the first year. PharmaCare will monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the drugs and the outcomes for patients as part of its coverage program.

“These publically funded drugs will bring the hepatitis C cure to infected British Columbians, improve their health, and prevent needless deaths from liver disease,” said Dr. Mel Krajden, medical head, hepatitis for the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and professor at the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of British Columbia. “This begins the path to eliminate hepatitis C in British Columbia.”

In order to fund these drugs and other new therapies, the ministry will continue its overall efforts to lower drug costs for PharmaCare. Some recent examples include: the recent single-sourcing of seven generic drugs; participation in the pan-Canadian price initiative, which has brought ten common generic drugs to 18% of the brand name price; and PharmaCare coverage changes for DPP-4 inhibitor diabetes drugs. These efforts have saved tens of millions of dollars for PharmaCare.

Sovaldi and Harvoni are the second and third new hepatitis C drugs PharmaCare has covered in the past six months. In October, PharmaCare began coverage of Galexos (simeprevir) for certain people after successful negotiations to lower its price.

PharmaCare also covers Victrelis (boceprevir) and peginterferon/ribavirin, for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C.

March is Liver Health Month, which provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the signs and risk factors for liver disease, including hepatitis C.

Quick facts:

  • Hepatitis C is a serious, communicable disease that is spread through direct contact with the blood of an infected person. Symptoms may include fatigue, jaundice, abdominal pain, and joint pain. In some people, it can cause liver damage (cirrhosis) or liver cancer.
  • There are about 80,000 people living with hepatitis C in B.C. However, many people with the virus have no symptoms; about 33% of people living with hepatitis C do not know they have it.
  • About a quarter of people with hepatitis C do not need treatment, as their body fights off the infection.
  • For those with persistent chronic infections and disease in B.C., about 50,000 in B.C. may eventually require treatment.
  • People who are successfully treated and cured of hepatitis C infection are then not able to pass the disease on to others.
  • In 2013-14, about 1,200 people in B.C. were treated for chronic hepatitis C with medication.

Learn more:

For more information on PharmaCare coverage of hepatitis C drugs, please visit: http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/pharmacare/formulary/dds.html

For more information about liver health, please visit: www.liver.ca

Media Contacts:

Laura Heinze
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)

Source

March 21, 2015

FDA Safety Alert on Sovaldi/Harvoni Label Change

You are receiving this message as a subscriber to the FDA hepatitis electronic list serve. The purpose of the list serve is to relay important information about viral hepatitis-related products and issues, including product approvals, significant labeling changes, safety warnings, notices of upcoming public meetings and alerts to proposed regulatory guidances for comment.
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Serious and Life-Threatening Cases of Symptomatic Bradycardia as well as One Case of Fatal Cardiac Arrest Reported with Coadministration of amiodarone with either Harvoni® (ledipasvir and sofosbuvir fixed-dose combination) or with Sovaldi® (sofosbuvir) in combination with another direct acting antiviral.

On March 20, 2015, FDA approved changes to the Harvoni (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir fixed dose combination) and Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) labels to update the WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, ADVERSE REACTIONS, and DRUG INTERATIONS sections of the labeling and the patient package insert with information on post-marketing cases of symptomatic bradycardia when co-administered with amiodarone. Additionally, Gilead Sciences has issued a Dear Healthcare Provider letter (see attachment).

The specific changes to the each label are summarized below.

Harvoni label changes:

5   WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

5.1 Serious Symptomatic Bradycardia When Coadministered with Amiodarone

Postmarketing cases of symptomatic bradycardia, including fatal cardiac arrest and cases requiring pacemaker intervention, have been reported when amiodarone is coadministered with HARVONI. Bradycardia has generally occurred within hours to days, but cases have been observed up to 2 weeks after initiating HCV treatment. Patients also taking beta blockers, or those with underlying cardiac comorbidities and/or advanced liver disease may be at increased risk for symptomatic bradycardia with coadministration of amiodarone. Bradycardia generally resolved after discontinuation of HCV treatment. The mechanism for this effect is unknown.

Coadministration of amiodarone with HARVONI is not recommended. For patients taking amiodarone who have no other alternative, viable treatment options and who will be coadministered HARVONI:

• Counsel patients about the risk of serious symptomatic bradycardia

• Cardiac monitoring in an in-patient setting for the first 48 hours of coadministration is recommended, after which outpatient or self-monitoring of the heart rate should occur on a daily basis through at least the first 2 weeks of treatment.

Patients who are taking HARVONI who need to start amiodarone therapy due to no other alternative, viable treatment options should undergo similar cardiac monitoring as outlined above.

Due to amiodarone’s long half-life, patients discontinuing amiodarone just prior to starting HARVONI should also undergo similar cardiac monitoring as outlined above.

Patients who develop signs or symptoms of bradycardia should seek medical evaluation immediately.

6   ADVERSE REACTIONS

6.2 Postmarketing Experience

Because postmarketing reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure. The following adverse reactions have been identified during post approval use of HARVONI.

7 DRUG INTERACTIONS

Added amiodarone information to Table 3, Potentially Significant Drug Interactions: Alterations in Dose or Regimen May Be Recommended Based on Drug Interaction Studies or Predicted Interaction.

Concomitant Drug Class: Drug Name

Effect on Concentration

Clinical Comment

Antiarrhythmics:

amiodarone

Effect on amiodarone, ledipasvir, and sofosbuvir concentrations unknown

Coadministration of HARVONI with amiodarone may result in serious symptomatic bradycardia. The mechanism of this effect is unknown. Coadministration of amiodarone with HARVONI is not recommended; if coadministration is required, cardiac monitoring is recommended [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)]

 

Sovaldi Label Changes:

5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

5.1 Serious Symptomatic Bradycardia When Coadministered with Amiodarone and Another HCV Direct Acting Antiviral

Postmarketing cases of symptomatic bradycardia and cases requiring pacemaker intervention have been reported when amiodarone is coadministered with SOVALDI in combination with an investigational agent (NS5A inhibitor) or simeprevir. A fatal cardiac arrest was reported in a patient receiving a sofosbuvir-containing regimen (HARVONI (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir)). Bradycardia has generally occurred within hours to days, but cases have been observed up to 2 weeks after initiating HCV treatment. Patients also taking beta blockers, or those with underlying cardiac comorbidities and/or advanced liver disease may be at increased risk for symptomatic bradycardia with coadministration of amiodarone. Bradycardia generally resolved after discontinuation of HCV treatment. The mechanism for this effect is unknown.

Coadministration of amiodarone with SOVALDI in combination with another direct acting antiviral (DAA) is not recommended. For patients taking amiodarone who have no other alternative, viable treatment options and who will be coadministered SOVALDI and another DAA:

• Counsel patients about the risk of serious symptomatic bradycardia

• Cardiac monitoring in an in-patient setting for the first 48 hours of coadministration is recommended, after which outpatient or self-monitoring of the heart rate should occur on a daily basis through at least the first 2 weeks of treatment.

Patients who are taking SOVALDI in combination with another DAA who need to start amiodarone therapy due to no other alternative, viable treatment options should undergo similar cardiac monitoring as outlined above.

Due to amiodarone’s long half-life, patients discontinuing amiodarone just prior to starting SOVALDI in combination with a DAA should also undergo similar cardiac monitoring as outlined above.

Patients who develop signs or symptoms of bradycardia should seek medical evaluation immediately. Symptoms may include near-fainting or fainting, dizziness or lightheadedness, malaise, weakness, excessive tiredness, shortness of breath, chest pains, confusion or memory problems [See Adverse Reactions (6.2), Drug Interactions (7.2)].

6 ADVERSE REACTIONS

6.2 Postmarketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during post approval use of SOVALDI. Because postmarketing reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Cardiac Disorders

Serious symptomatic bradycardia has been reported in patients taking amiodarone who initiate treatment with SOVALDI in combination with another HCV direct acting antiviral [See Warnings and Precautions (5.1), Drug Interactions (7.2)].

7 DRUG INTERACTIONS

Added amiodarone information to Table 5, Potentially Significant Drug Interactions: Alterations in Dose or Regimen May Be Recommended Based on Drug Interaction Studies or Predicted Interaction.

Concomitant Drug Class: Drug Name

Effect on Concentration

Clinical Comment

Antiarrhythmics:                       amiodarone              

Effect on amiodarone and sofosbuvir concentrations unknown

Coadministration of amiodarone with SOVALDI in combination with another DAA may result in serious symptomatic bradycardia. The mechanism of this effect is unknown. Coadministration of amiodarone with SOVALDI in combination with another DAA is not recommended; if coadministration is required, cardiac monitoring is recommended [See Warnings and Precautions (5.1), Adverse Reactions (6.2)].

Updated labeling will be posted soon at DailyMed

Please see Gilead Sciences has issued a Dear Healthcare Provider letter: 

SVD HVN - DHCP Letter 20March15 - FINAL.DOCX

Harvoni and Sovaldi are products of Gilead Sciences.

Richard Klein
Office of Special Health Issues
Food and Drug Administration

Kimberly Struble
Division of Antiviral Drug Products
Food and Drug Administration

Steve Morin
Office of Special Health Issues 
Food and Drug Administration

If you are interested in receiving information about a broader range of FDA topics, consider subscribing to the FDA Patient Network News, a twice monthly newsletter containing FDA-related information on a variety of topics, including new product approvals, significant labeling changes, safety warnings, notices of upcoming public meetings, proposed regulatory guidances and opportunity to comment, and other information of interest to patients and patient advocates.

March 20, 2015

Delay HCV Tx and Watch Patients Die

by Michael Smith
North American Correspondent, MedPage Today

Meeting Coverage 03.01.2015

-- Even successful treatment carries risk if it is delayed, model suggests.

SEATTLE -- Delaying hepatitis C (HCV) treatment in patients who also have HIV increases the risk of liver complications and death even if the therapy is successful, a researcher said.

In a computer modeling study, treating a patient in METAVIR stage F3 disease instead of stage F2 increased the risk of liver-related death from 5% to 10%, according to Cindy Zahnd, a research assistant at the University of Bern in Switzerland.

And if successful HCV treatment was delayed until stage F4, the risk of liver-related death rose to 25%, compared with therapy at stage F2, Zahnd said here at the 2015 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.

That's because "people who are living with HIV have many other risk factors that maintain them at a certain risk even after HCV clearance," Zahnd said.

It might seem obvious that delayed treatment increases the risk of complications or death, Zahnd told MedPage Today, but there is little long-term follow-up of actual patients that quantifies that danger.

"The point of this exercise was to project the long-term risk," she said.

The issue is important, especially in the U.S. where there is "push-back" against paying for some of the new and expensive anti-HCV agents early in the disease course, commented David Thomas, MD, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who moderated a media conference at which the data was discussed.

"Sometimes drugs aren't paid for in patients in a lower stage of disease," he said, because of a "mental model that someone would have to go to F4 before they get into trouble."

So insurers and other payers are often content to wait, he said, especially since some newer agents have been controversial because of their costs.

What the study shows, he added, is that "this approach has consequences."

The researchers used data from the Swiss Hepatitis C Study for the period before the newer agents were available to obtain estimates of the risk of progression in coinfected patients, Zahnd said.

In those days, treatment was with pegylated interferon and ribavirin, only about 60% of patients attempted the treatment, and only about 40% were able to clear HCV, she noted.

Those data suggested, however, that successful treatment would reduce the risk of liver fibrosis progression by a factor of 10, the risk of decompensated cirrhosis by the same factor, and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma by a factor of 2.6.

Their model assumed that uptake of treatment with newer agents would be 100% and that cure rates would be about 90%, Zahnd said.

In that scenario, if treatment is provided soon after diagnosis -- between a month and a year later -- less than 3% of patients would die of liver complications, the model showed.

On the other hand, if treatment was delayed until METAVIR stage F2 or higher, the risks gradually increased, reaching 25% in those treated at stage F4, Zahnd said.

The investigators were "a bit surprised" to find that the proportion of liver-related deaths was so high despite successful treatment in most patients, Zahnd said, and concluded that some of the events would have taken place after the HCV was cleared.

Indeed, at the higher stages, most liver-related deaths would occur after the patient had cleared HCV, she said. In some patients, she reported, fibrosis progression would be maintained through persistent risk factors, such as drug toxicity, coinfections, or metabolic liver disease.

One implication of the analysis, Zahnd said, is that delaying treatment -- aside from the individual risks -- also increases the risk of transmitting HCV to others.

Indeed, she said, delaying treatment until METAVIR stage F4 would quadruple the infectious period.

She cautioned that the study had heterogeneous data sources, and also explained that it modeled a closed cohort with no transmission so the analysis probably under-estimates the positive impact of early HCV treatment.

And the model did not include the possibility of re-treatment, Zahnd said, which might have led to an over-estimate of the number of people experiencing liver-related complications.

The analysis was part of the Swiss HIV and the Swiss Hepatitis C Cohort studies. Zahnd did not disclose any relevant relationships.

Thomas disclosed no relevant relationships.

Reviewed by F. Perry Wilson, MD, MSCE Assistant Professor, Section of Nephrology, Yale School of Medicine and Dorothy Caputo, MA, BSN, RN, Nurse Planner

last updated 03.02.2015

Primary Source

Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections

Source Reference: Zahnd C, et al "Impact of deferring HCV treatment on liver-related events in HIV+ patients" CROI 2015; Abstract 150.

Source

Annals of Internal Medicine

17 March 2015, Vol 162, No. 6>

Original Research | 17 March 2015

Jagpreet Chhatwal, PhD; Fasiha Kanwal, MD, MSHS; Mark S. Roberts, MD, MPP; and Michael A. Dunn, MD

[+-] Article and Author Information

Ann Intern Med. 2015;162(6):397-406. doi:10.7326/M14-1336

Background: Sofosbuvir and ledipasvir, which have recently been approved for treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, are more efficacious and safer than the old standard of care (oSOC) but are substantially more expensive. Whether and in which patients their improved efficacy justifies their increased cost is unclear.

Objective: To evaluate the cost-effectiveness and budget impact of sofosbuvir and ledipasvir.

Design: Microsimulation model of the natural history of HCV infection.

Data Sources: Published literature.

Target Population: Treatment-naive and treatment-experienced HCV population defined on the basis of HCV genotype, age, and fibrosis distribution in the United States.

Time Horizon: Lifetime.

Perspective: Third-party payer.

Intervention: Simulation of sofosbuvir–ledipasvir compared with the oSOC (interferon-based therapies).

Outcome Measures: Quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs), and 5-year spending on antiviral drugs.

Results of Base-Case Analysis: Sofosbuvir-based therapies added 0.56 QALY relative to the oSOC at an ICER of $55 400 per additional QALY. The ICERs ranged from $9700 to $284 300 per QALY depending on the patient's status with respect to treatment history, HCV genotype, and presence of cirrhosis. At a willingness-to-pay threshold of $100 000 per QALY, sofosbuvir-based therapies were cost-effective in 83% of treatment-naive and 81% of treatment-experienced patients. Compared with the oSOC, treating eligible HCV-infected persons in the United States with the new drugs would cost an additional $65 billion in the next 5 years, whereas the resulting cost offsets would be $16 billion.

Results of Sensitivity Analysis: Results were sensitive to drug price, drug efficacy, and quality of life after successful treatment.

Limitation: Data on real-world effectiveness of new antivirals are lacking.

Conclusion: Treatment of HCV is cost-effective in most patients, but additional resources and value-based patient prioritization are needed to manage patients with HCV.

Primary Funding Source: National Institutes of Health.

Source

Annals of Internal Medicine

17 March 2015, Vol 162, No. 6>

Original Research | 17 March 2015

Mehdi Najafzadeh, PhD; Karin Andersson, MD; William H. Shrank, MD, MSHS; Alexis A. Krumme, MS; Olga S. Matlin, PhD; Troyen Brennan, MD, JD, MPH; Jerry Avorn, MD; and Niteesh K. Choudhry, MD, PhD

[+-] Article and Author Information

Ann Intern Med. 2015;162(6):407-419. doi:10.7326/M14-1152

Background: New regimens for hepatitis C virus (HCV) have shorter treatment durations and increased rates of sustained virologic response compared with existing therapies but are extremely expensive.

Objective: To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of these treatments under different assumptions about their price and efficacy.

Design: Discrete-event simulation.

Data Sources: Published literature.

Target Population: Treatment-naive patients infected with chronic HCV genotype 1, 2, or 3.

Time Horizon: Lifetime.

Perspective: Societal.

Intervention: Usual care (boceprevir–ribavirin–pegylated interferon [PEG]) was compared with sofosbuvir–ribavirin–PEG and 3 PEG-free regimens: sofosbuvir–simeprevir, sofosbuvir–daclatasvir, and sofosbuvir–ledipasvir. For genotypes 2 and 3, usual care (ribavirin–PEG) was compared with sofosbuvir–ribavirin, sofosbuvir–daclatasvir, and sofosbuvir–ledipasvir–ribavirin (genotype 3 only).

Outcome Measures: Discounted costs (in 2014 U.S. dollars), quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios.

Results of Base-Case Analysis: Assuming sofosbuvir, simeprevir, daclatasvir, and ledipasvir cost $7000, $5500, $5500, and $875 per week, respectively, sofosbuvir–ledipasvir was cost-effective for genotype 1 and cost $12 825 more per QALY than usual care. For genotype 2, sofosbuvir–ribavirin and sofosbuvir–daclatasvir cost $110 000 and $691 000 per QALY, respectively. For genotype 3, sofosbuvir–ledipasvir–ribavirin cost $73 000 per QALY, sofosbuvir–ribavirin was more costly and less effective than usual care, and sofosbuvir–daclatasvir cost more than $396 000 per QALY at assumed prices.

Results of Sensitivity Analysis: Sofosbuvir–ledipasvir was the optimal strategy in most simulations for genotype 1 and would be cost-saving if sofosbuvir cost less than $5500. For genotype 2, sofosbuvir–ribavirin–PEG would be cost-saving if sofosbuvir cost less than $2250 per week. For genotype 3, sofosbuvir–ledipasvir–ribavirin would be cost-saving if sofosbuvir cost less than $1500 per week.

Limitation: Data are lacking on real-world effectiveness of new treatments and some prices.

Conclusion: From a societal perspective, novel treatments for HCV are cost-effective compared with usual care for genotype 1 and probably genotype 3 but not for genotype 2.

Primary Funding Source: CVS Health.

Source

Charity attacks Gilead over hepatitis C drug restrictions

Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:18pm EDT

(Reuters) - Charity Medecins Sans Frontieres has accused U.S. drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc GILD.O of restricting access to its breakthrough hepatitis C drug Sovaldi in developing countries as it tries to protect profit margin in wealthier nations.

MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders, said Gilead's restrictions aimed to stop discounted supplies of Sovaldi being diverted to patients from rich countries, but that the effort had resulted in "multiple restrictions and demands" on people receiving treatment in poor countries.

It said Gilead was excluding people without national identity documents, a move that hurts migrants, refugees and marginalized patients.

"We're seeing Gilead trying everything it can to squeeze every last drop of profit out of some middle-income and (high-income) countries, and millions of people with hepatitis C will have to pay the price," said Rohit Malpani, Director of Policy and Analysis at MSF's Access Campaign.

Gilead said in developing countries it operates a system of tiered pricing and voluntary generic licensing to help enable access to its hepatitis C medicines.

"As part of these efforts, the company works to ensure that the medicines reach their intended recipients with patient access our primary goal," a Gilead spokesman said.

Sovaldi, which is far more effective and better-tolerated than older treatments, has come under fire for its $1,000-a-pill price tag in the United States. It racked up $10.3 billion in sales for Gilead in its first year on the market.

Gilead said it is in discussions with 11 generic drugmakers to identify strategies for supplying 91 developing nations. But activists have said such deals would not ensure access to several middle-income countries where health authorities will struggle to provide treatment to patients.

"We will continue to seek input on all areas of our access program as it evolves, and make any improvements as needed," Gilead said.

In a statement on Wednesday ahead of a meeting between Gilead and the generics producers, MSF urged the companies to reject a program under which it says the U.S. drugmaker keeps people in developed and some middle-income countries, where Sovaldi's cost is "exorbitant," from accessing cheaper copies.

"MSF is greatly concerned that this program will establish an ugly precedent and will be introduced in all countries where the company and its generic licensees sell the drug," the charity said.

About 150 million people in the world live with chronic hepatitis C, most of them in low- and middle-income countries.

(Reporting by Zeba Siddiqui in Mumbai and Bill Berkrot in New York; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

Source

Hepatitis C: only a step away from elimination?

The Lancet

Editorial

Volume 385, No. 9973, p1045, 21 March 2015

Globally, an estimated 185 million people are infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). Acute HCV infections are usually asymptomatic. However, about 75% of patients develop chronic infection, which can lead to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. 700 000 deaths worldwide could be attributed to HCV in 2013. While most people affected live in low-income and middle-income countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, in the UK an estimated 200 000 individuals are infected with HCV, and annual deaths from HCV have quadrupled since 1996. These figures are appalling, surely. But the extraordinary recent developments in treatment for hepatitis C offer substantial grounds for optimism. A series of new drugs—more effective in viral clearance with fewer side-effects—are changing the landscape for hepatitis C.

Today's Lancet gives a sense of the remarkable past few years it has been for hepatitis C. As described in Paul Webster and colleagues' comprehensive Seminar, until recently interferon in combination with ribavirin was the main treatment for hepatitis C, but eligibility, safety, tolerability, and effectiveness were limited. The development of direct-acting antiviral drugs towards NS3/4A protease, NS5B polymerase, and NS5A replication complex has progressed tremendously and now allows for interferon-free therapies. Four clinical trials with new regimens are published in today's issue. The C-WORTHY trial assessed a single-tablet once-daily regimen of grazoprevir (protease inhibitor) and elbasivir (NS5A inhibitor) with or without ribavirin for patients with HCV genotype 1. Eric Lawitz and colleagues report a sustained virological response (SVR) at 12 weeks, irrespective of ribavirin and duration of treatment. Similarly, Mark Sulkowski and colleagues report very encouraging results (SVR at 12 weeks: 87–97%) in patients co-infected with HIV. With about 25% of individuals infected with HIV being co-infected with HCV, inclusion of this group of patients in trials is also of utmost importance. In the PHOTON-2 trial, Jean-Michel Molina and colleagues specifically assessed the recently approved regimen sofosbuvir (NS5B inhibitor) plus ribavirin in patients infected with HCV genotypes 1–4 co-infected with HIV. They confirm the pan-genotypic potential of sofosbuvir (SVR 12 weeks: 84–89%), offering HIV co-infected patients a useful interferon-free option. The fourth trial published in today's issue goes a step further and assesses whether the addition of a third direct-acting antiviral drug to an interferon-free, ribavirin-free combination (sofosbuvir and ledipasvir) would allow shorter treatment duration—an important factor for a patient population in which treatment compliance and adherence can be an issue.

These trials are important because they offer new effective treatment options for HCV infection. “An opportunity now exists to almost eliminate this infection from the UK”, wrote Roger Williams and colleagues in The Lancet Commission on Addressing liver disease in the UK. Highly effective new antiviral drugs not only can cure those treated but also can reduce transmission of HCV and therefore its prevalence. The Commission estimated that with these new antiviral drugs we could contemplate the “eradication of infections from chronic hepatitis C virus in the UK by 2030”. Indeed, modelling studies for England showed that increasing diagnostic and number of people treated by 27 times would result in a 95% reduction in the prevalence of HCV infection, an 80% reduction in hepatocellular carcinoma, and avert 5200 deaths by 2030.

While new drugs offer new opportunities, new challenges also arise. Scaling-up treatment—in any country—will face important cost issues. But the high costs of these new medicines, which should be robustly scrutinised and, where appropriate, challenged, must not inhibit a careful and comprehensive analysis of the broader benefits they might bring. For example, as Melanie Calvert and colleagues argue this week, patient-reported outcomes offer the opportunity to have the patient's voice more forcefully heard in health policy decision making. The self-reported benefits to patients from these new anti-HCV regimens might prove to be substantial. And the financial returns from reduced health-care costs and higher economic activity might easily outweigh the expense of the medicines themselves. This kind of broader cost-effectiveness work needs to be urgently completed.

Next month, The Lancet Infectious Diseases is hosting its inaugural Viral Hepatitis Summit in Shanghai (April 10–12). We look forward to this meeting addressing the increasingly urgent need for a global plan to eliminate hepatitis C. With no vaccine in sight, if we are truly to contemplate elimination of hepatitis C by 2030, ensuring that treatments reach marginalised groups and are accessible to all those living with HCV will be crucial.

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March 19, 2015

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The NDA contains data to support approval for daclatasvir in combination with sofosbuvir; would be the first 12-week regimen specifically for the treatment of hepatitis C genotype 3

The application is based on a Phase III clinical trial which tested a 12-week, ribavirin-free regimen and resulted in sustained virologic response (SVR12) in 90% of treatment-naïve and 86% of treatment-experienced genotype 3 HCV patients

Thursday, March 12, 2015 3:00 pm EDT

"We also are continuing clinical trials to determine the potential of daclatasvir-based regimens in treating a range of other high unmet-need patients, including those coinfected with HIV, HCV patients with decompensated cirrhosis, and HCV recurrence in post-transplant patients."

PRINCETON, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY) announced today that the resubmitted new drug application (NDA) for daclatasvir, an investigational NS5A replication complex inhibitor, has been accepted for review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in combination with sofosbuvir for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C (HCV) genotype 3. The original NDA has been amended to include data from the Phase III ALLY-3 trial, which showed high cure rates for the combination, with sustained virologic response 12 weeks after treatment (SVR12) in 90% of treatment-naïve and 86% of treatment-experienced genotype 3 HCV patients. SVR12 rates were higher (96%) in non-cirrhotic genotype 3 patients, regardless of treatment history. The FDA will now review the submission within a six-month timeframe.

“The daclatasvir-based NDA seeks to address a high-unmet patient need that still exists despite recent hepatitis C treatment advances. Approximately 9-12% of HCV patients in the U.S. have genotype 3. That’s thousands of individuals in the U.S. who historically have had limited treatment options requiring at least 24 weeks of treatment,” said Douglas Manion, M.D., head of Specialty Development, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “We also are continuing clinical trials to determine the potential of daclatasvir-based regimens in treating a range of other high unmet-need patients, including those coinfected with HIV, HCV patients with decompensated cirrhosis, and HCV recurrence in post-transplant patients.”

Genotype 3 is estimated to affect 54.3 million people worldwide, and is the second most common hepatitis C genotype after genotype 1 (83.4 million). The more aggressive nature of genotype 3 lies in the damage it causes to the liver, as it is associated with progressive disease, increased rates of steatosis and a disproportionately increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma.

In the ALLY-3 study, the daclatasvir and sofosbuvir combination regimen was well tolerated, with no deaths, treatment-related serious adverse events, or discontinuations due to adverse events. The most frequent side effects (≥5%) were headache (19.7%), fatigue (19.1%), nausea (11.8%), diarrhea (8.6%), insomnia (5.9%), abdominal pain and arthralgia (both 5.3%). Additionally, there were 17 (11.2%) treatment failures, with 16 relapses post-treatment and 1 rebound at the end of treatment. There were no viral breakthroughs in this ribavirin-free regimen.

About ALLY-3: Study Design

This Phase III open-label clinical trial enrolled 152 genotype 3 HCV patients; 101 treatment-naïve patients and 51 treatment-experienced patients in 2 cohorts each received daclatasvir 60 mg and sofosbuvir 400 mg once daily for 12 weeks, with 24 weeks of follow-up. The primary endpoint was SVR12 rates, defined as HCV RNA < LLOQ target detected or not detected at follow-up week 12 in treatment-naïve and treatment-experienced patients.

About Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a virus that infects the liver and is transmitted through direct contact with infected blood and blood products. Approximately 170 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C, with an estimated 2.7–3.9 million chronically infected in the United States. Up to 90 percent of those infected with hepatitis C will not spontaneously clear the virus and will become chronically infected. According to the World Health Organization, up to 20 percent of people with chronic hepatitis C will develop cirrhosis; of those, up to 20 percent may progress to liver cancer.

About Bristol-Myers Squibb’s HCV Portfolio

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s research efforts are focused on advancing late-stage compounds to deliver the most value to patients with hepatitis C. At the core of our pipeline is daclatasvir, a NS5A complex inhibitor, which continues to be investigated in multiple treatment regimens and in people with co-morbidities.

Daclatasvir was approved in Europe in August 2014, and more recently in Brazil in January 2015, for use in combination with other medicinal products across genotypes 1, 2, 3 and 4 for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in adults. Daclatasvir also is approved in Japan in combination with asunaprevir, a NS3/4A protease inhibitor. The daclatasvir+asunaprevir dual regimen is Japan’s first all-oral, interferon- and ribavirin-free treatment regimen for patients with genotype 1 chronic HCV infection, including those with compensated cirrhosis.

About Bristol-Myers Squibb

Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information, please visit http://www.bms.com or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/bmsnews.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Forward Looking Statement

This press release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 regarding the research, development and commercialization of pharmaceutical products. Such forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and involve inherent risks and uncertainties, including factors that could delay, divert or change any of them, and could cause actual outcomes and results to differ materially from current expectations. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed. Among other risks, there can be no guarantee that daclatasvir will receive regulatory approval in the United States, or if approved, that it will become a commercially successful product. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect Bristol-Myers Squibb's business, particularly those identified in the cautionary factors discussion in Bristol-Myers Squibb's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014, in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and our Current Reports on Form 8-K. Bristol-Myers Squibb undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Contact:

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
Media:
Robert Perry, Office: 609-419-5378
Cell: 407-492-4616
rob.perry@bms.com

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Investors:
Ranya Dajani, 609-252-5330
ranya.dajani@bms.com

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