Hepatitis C

Mario is free to use the now empty Hep C pipeline

Although, based on his history of drug use he’s more inclined to die from eating the wrong mushroom than from Hep C, but I digress.

Since 2011, DAAs have been coming down the Hep C pipeline, until now. 2017 marked the year where announcements of new meds not only slowed its pace, but many were cancelled. Janssen, as of Sept. 2017 discontinued use of Olysio, a DAA which acted as part of a combination therapy, the only lone NS3/4 Protease inhibitor. Without a unique NS3/4 inhibitor, combination therapies will be more likely to include combination meds like Harvoni. Most meds target the NS5a or NS5b cleavage point, which means when a patient has RAVs which prevent that protease inhibitor from working at that cleavage point, it becomes harder to target the virus.

As Gilead and AbbVie continued to push on with newer iterations of their Hep C treatment meds, Merck abandoned two drugs which were currently in the Hep C Pipeline. At an 8 week price point of $26,400, Mavyret is dragging Gilead’s Vosevi and Epclusa to push not for lower prices but shorter treatment durations to lower the price point to insurers. Merck’s treatment is still standing at its 12 week price point of around $54,000 making competition with the Pan-genomic Mavyret almost impossible. Mavyret contains an NS 3/4 and an NS5a inhibitor, whereas Epclusa targets NS5a and NS5b cleavage points. These subtle differences have an impact on patient efficacy due to RAVs which affect these cleavage points.

The empty pipeline means that if a cure cannot be found within these combinations insurers decide, then patients may die. As with more 2 in 1 pills like Epclusa and Mavyret, it will become harder for patients to find individualized therapies.


Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is well-recognized as a common blood borne infection with global public health impact, affecting 3 to 5 million persons in the U.S. and over 170 million persons worldwide. Chronic HCV infection is associated with significant morbidity and mortality due to complications of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Current therapies with all-oral directly acting antiviral agents (DAAs) are associated with high rates of sustained virologic response (SVR), generally exceeding 90%. SVR is associated with a reduced risk of liver cirrhosis, hepatic decompensation, need for liver transplantation, and both liver-related and all-cause mortality. However, a subset of patients who achieve SVR will remain at long-term risk for progression to cirrhosis, liver failure, HCC, and liver-related mortality. Limited evidence is available to guide clinicians on which post-SVR patients should be monitored versus discharged, how to monitor and with which tests, how frequently should monitoring occur, and for how long. In this clinical practice update, available evidence and expert opinion are used to generate best practice recommendations on the care of patients with chronic HCV who have achieved SVR.


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