Hepatitis C

Hope is not a four letter word

Merck.

We’ve been seeing DAAs like Sovaldi come out lots of labs, but we’re about to witness the rest of the big companies throw their hat into the ring. Gilead’s use of the Warehouse of Hep C (HCV) patients has led to historic profits for Gilead. Johnson and Johnson’s Olysio tapped into the market, and Bristol Myers Squibb’s new Daklinza (daclatasvir) are filling the gaps Gilead’s Sovaldi left.

And soon Merck is about to throw down one of the most virally specific DAAs around. The new combination treatment will be able to cure even cases previously failed due to RAVs (mutations).

Why am i stoked?
Because it may be my sixth treatment.
So what makes it different?

Well first off two/three phases have been done with higher efficacy than Harvoni.
C-Edge and C-Salvage.
C-Edge is similar to most DAA studies, it’s efficacy is unsurprisingly high.
C-Salvage as the name implies is specific not only to people who failed interfereon/ribavirin, but also failed a DAA like Sovaldi/Harvoni/V-Pak. It’s going after people with NS3 and NS5A variants like myself.

The C-Salvage study has the best results i have seen for someone in my situation.

Previous treatments I’ve been on had an 84-86% success rate when it came down to my genotype, and cirrhosis. Usually being even lower for decompensated liver patients, however it still positively impacts MELD, so it’s not all a waste.

The C-Salvage boasts an unbelievably high success rate: 96.2%

The new drugs names: grazoprevir and elbasvir.

So damn catchy, aren’t they?

Annnd it’s slotted to be FDA approved during the early first quarter of 2016.
Annnd the new grazoprevir and elbasvir treatments could be as low as 16 weeks instead of 24.

Troubles: The study doesn’t specifically mention which variations, as those may/may not have an impact on success. So in this aspect it’s kinda a crapshoot, because until later this year we won’t have clear enough data to say that it will or will not be successful for my specific variations.

Troubles: Price, with the way Hep C meds are presently being marketed it would not be surprising to see a hundred thousand dollar price tag. Merck will also probably offer a massive discount program similar to Gilead’s MySupportPath.

And this thing… keep an eye on the TPP…


The Trans Pacific Partnership. As i highlighted in a series of blog posts regarding why Medicaid is waiting until people are dying to cure them, the TPP will play a large role in how insurance agencies, Managed Care Organizations, Pharmaceutical costs(and carve outs) are going to be set over the next few years.
With the TPP disclosure coming out soon, and congress to debate it, this will undoubtedly play a role in access to Merck’s new meds, and the prices it offers consumers and insurance agencies.

C-Edge Study:
http://www.natap.org/2015/EASL/EASL_04.htm
C-Salvage Study:
http://hepcblog.amjmed.com/hep-c-treatment/c-salvage-final-24-week-follow-up-results/

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