Welcome to HCV Advocate’s hepatitis blog. The intent of this blog is to keep our website audience up-to-date on information about hepatitis and to answer some of our web site and training audience questions. People are encouraged to submit questions and post comments.

For more information on how to use this blog
click here, the HCV drug pipeline click here, and for more information on HCV clinical trials click here

Be sure to check out our other blogs: The HBV Advocate Blog and Hepatitis & Tattoos.

Alan Franciscus
Editor-in-Chief
HCV Advocate
HBV Advocate

Monday, July 21, 2014

47th Hepatitis-C Case Confirmed

A 47th person has been diagnosed with Hepatitis-C related to the outbreak in Minot.

The North Dakota Department of Health announced today the 47th case is similar to the 46th case - the patient had no contact with ManorCare.

All of the first 45 cases identified in the outbreak had been in residents or former residents of Manor Care.

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Hepatitis C Spurs Unusual Patent Wars Among Big Drug Makers

The intense rivalry to grab a dominating share of the lucrative market for hepatitis C treatments has largely focused on potential pricing and clinical research showing which medicines can cure the largest number of patients in the shortest amount of time.

But there is another intriguing aspect to this classic pharmaceutical horse race – a series of lawsuits filed over patents. Specifically, Gilead Sciences GILD -0.37%, which was first out of the gate with the expensive and successful Sovaldi treatment, is fighting no fewer than three other drug makers in court – Merck, AbbVie ABBV -1.66% and Roche – over valuable patent rights.

As The Wall Street Journal notes in an interesting overview of this multi-faceted battle, patent skirmishes in the pharmaceutical industry usually involved brand-name drug makers trying to block generic rivals from selling cheap copies of their medicines.

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New hep C treatments promise high cure rates, few side effects

Though Canadian data scarce, US study suggests hepatitis C on rise among gay men

By the time Cheryl Reitz got the letter in the mail, it was already too late.

It was 1992 and she had just donated blood for the second time. Canada had just begun ramping up efforts to screen blood donations for hepatitis C, back then a rarely discussed disease.

“It was when people got sick that they decided to go back and check,” says Reitz, whose results came back positive. For all she knew, between her first donation in 1990 and 1992, Reitz may have infected others with the blood-borne viral liver disease that, today in Ontario, kills nearly three times as many people annually as HIV.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Australia: Hepatitis QLD makes urgent plea in fight against virus

AN ALARMING number of Queenslanders will develop life-threatening liver disease unless governments increase investments to improve the care of people living with viral hepatitis, according to Hepatitis Queensland.

In a release issued last week, the peak body concerned with the disease warned that Australia already has an epidemic of chronic viral hepatitis B and C.

Speaking ahead of World Hepatitis Day on 28 July, the CEO of Hepatitis Queensland paid tribute to the work of the state's hepatitis health professionals and community workers, but said that the unprecedented number of people now living with viral hepatitis requires an urgent investment in action.

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Sofosbuvir and Ribavirin for Hepatitis C in Patients With HIV Coinfection, Mark S. Sulkowski, MD

Check out this original investigation by Dr. Mark Sulkowski published online in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.  

(The article is free)
 
Importance: Treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in patients also infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has been limited due to drug interactions with antiretroviral therapies (ARTs) and the need to use interferon.

Conclusions and Relevance  In this open-label, nonrandomized, uncontrolled study, patients with HIV who were coinfected with HCV genotype 1, 2, or 3 who received the oral, interferon-free combination of sofosbuvir and ribavirin for 12 or 24 weeks had high rates of SVR12. Further studies of this oral regimen in diverse populations of coinfected patients are warranted.

JAMA. 2014;312(4):353-361. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.7734

Should Congress free Medicare to negotiate drug prices?

Florida’s Medicaid program has decided to pay for an extraordinarily expensive new treatment for hepatitis C — but only for the sickest of patients.

Ideally, the blockbuster drug Sovaldi would be available to everyone diagnosed with hepatitis C. After all, the disease is terrible, highly contagious, and Sovaldi promises a cure rate of above 90 percent.

But making Sovaldi available to everyone on Medicaid who needs it now would cost the state over $1.6 billion, and so it’s restricted.

Blame greed. Greed from the drug industry, and greed from members of Congress who are so beholden to pharmaceutical industry campaign cash that they won’t consider allowing Medicare Part D plans to negotiate for better drug prices, as other countries do. Medicare’s rates become the basis for everyone else’s rates, and so this drives up health costs across the spectrum.

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

WORLD HEPATITIS DAY 2014 EVENTS for BC CANADA

World Hepatitis Day in British Columbia, Canada: Good time to look into Testing & Treatment

World Hepatitis Day 2014 - Events in British Columbia, CanadaFind out more about hepatitis C and B testing, treatment, and why they are important by surfing  hepcbc.ca, liver.ca, and hepcinfo.ca!

And attend a World Hepatitis Day 2014 event near you – see below!

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