June 15, 2010

Better Clarity on Diagnosis Facilitates the Introduction of Novel Treatments in the Hepatitis C Therapeutics Market in Australia, Finds Frost & Sulliv

SINGAPORE, June 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Physicians expect the rate of diagnosis to continue rising in Australia due to heightening of awareness among general practitioners regarding screening and treatment for Hepatitis C. Screening of Hepatitis C patients in Australia, especially among illicit drug users, has resulted in a spike in the number of diagnosed cases of Hepatitis C virus (HCV). In 2009, an estimated 77 percent of patients-at-risk with Hepatitis C were diagnosed, and this figure is expected to reach up to 87 percent by 2016.

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Higher efficacy and safety are the most preferred drug attributes. Physicians expect new oral anti-virals (boceprevir and telaprivir) and interferon with improved safety (albuferon) to be launched by 2013 in Australia. According to physicians, prevalence had increased rapidly during the early 2000s. However, the rate had declined over the years, and the pace is likely to slacken in the future owing to a major disruption to the supply of heroin in Australia in 2001.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (http://www.pharma.frost.com), Multi Client Study: Opportunities Assessment for the Hepatitis C Therapeutics Market in Australia, finds that the market earned revenues of $2.3 billion in 2007 and this is expected to increase to approximately $4.5 billion by 2017 due to new drug launches occurring after 2010.

"The Australian Government has unleashed Initiatives to address the Hepatitis C virus in the country, allocating $14.3 million (Australian dollar 17 million) for Hepatitis C education and prevention over the 2007-2011 period," says Frost & Sullivan Program Manager Carole Gaffud. "State and territory governments also have substantial budgets for Hepatitis C prevention and education."

The priority action areas identified as part of the National Hepatitis C Strategy are prevention, education, diagnosis, treatment, surveillance, and research. The Government is avidly addressing healthcare workforce development as well as issues surrounding discrimination and stigma.

Although there is a high diagnosis rate in Australia, only a paltry 3 percent of diagnosed patients pursue treatment owing to a lack of understanding about treatment options. According to physicians, one of the main reasons for such a large proportion of diagnosed patients left untreated is that they are predominantly from disadvantaged groups such as illicit drug users, aboriginal people, those serving prison sentences, and some migrant groups, which do not have access to conventional healthcare. Often the reason is real or perceived stigma and discrimination.

Aside from this, there is a great deal of angst about debilitating side effects, frequent dosing, and lackluster efficacy of the existing HCV treatments, especially for those afflicted with genotype 1. Moreover, there is a belief that a liver biopsy is required to receive treatment, which deters patients from undergoing treatment.

To circumvent the challenges clouding the market landscape, companies must offer treatment options that expedite efficiency, have fewer side effects, and are cost efficient. Patients should be made aware of their disease status and encouraged to remain compliant.

"As more improvements are required to educate at risk patients, public and private organizations including pharmaceutical companies must up the ante to spread awareness," says Gaffud. "Greater information outreach will help patients obtain the right mode of treatment and ultimately stem the onslaught of the Hepatitis C virus in Australia.

If you are interested in more information on this study, please send an e-mail to Nicklaus Au, Corporate Communications, at nicklaus.au@frost.com, with your full name, company name, title, telephone number, company e-mail address, company website, city, state and country.

Multi Client Study: Opportunities Assessment for the Hepatitis C Therapeutics Market in Australia is part of the Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology Growth Partnership Services program, which also includes research in the following markets: Opportunities Assessment of Hepatitis C Market in Taiwan, Opportunities Assessment of Hepatitis C in Philippines, Opportunities Assessment of Hepatitis C in Indonesia, Opportunities Assessment of Hepatitis C in Singapore, Opportunities Assessment of Hepatitis C in China, Opportunities Assessment of Hepatitis C in Thailand, Opportunities Assessment of Hepatitis C in Hong Kong, Opportunities Assessment of Hepatitis C in India, Opportunities Assessment of Hepatitis C in Korea, and Opportunities Assessment of Hepatitis C in Malaysia. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.

About Frost & Sullivan

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