November 10, 2014

New pill that can cure hepatitis C approved for patients in Scotland

10 November 2014 14:00 GMT

A treatment that can cure the hepatitis C disease has been approved for use in Scotland.

The disease now affects one in every 100 people in Scotland and causes over 20% of all liver transplants.

The decision means some of the sickest patients can access a new regimen that is a daily pill, taken without some existing toxic drugs.

The pill, which is called daclatasvir, has a cure rate of around 98% in a majority of patients.

Daclatasvir is an oral once-daily pill, used in combination with other medicinal products, to treat adult patients with chronic hepatitis C.

In published clinical studies it has shown potential to offer cure in a high number of patients.

The decision makes Scotland the first country in Europe to adopt positive guidance for daclatasvir and means it will be routinely available to eligible patients through the Scottish NHS.

Approximately 50,000 people in Scotland are infected with hep C, which can cause liver cancer or liver failure.

This is equivalent to around one per cent of the Scottish population.

Dr. Stephen Barclay, liver consultant at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary said: "This decision is an important milestone for around 40,000 patients in Scotland with chronic hepatitis C, who live with the risk of cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer.

"Whilst the standard of care for hepatitis C in Scotland is exemplary, there remain patients for whom current treatments have been unsuitable or ineffective.

"The acceptance of daclatasvir offers a new option that can provide high rates of viral cure and thus bring real benefits for patients who require treatment."

Bob Leary, 67, who lives near Edinburgh, contracted hep C in 1986 through a blood transfusion.

Since then it has destroyed his liver; he's had one transplant but hasn't had the virus cured so it's still damaging his new liver.

He's too ill to take existing treatment options and is a perfect example of what hep C can do to you and how these treatments will make a big difference to Scottish patients.


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