In Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, Dual Combination Therapy With Peg-IFN-alpha and Ribavirin Remains the Most Commonly Prescribed Treatment for all Hepatitis C Virus-Infected Patients

However, Recent Changes in Brazil and Argentina are Expected to Drive a Shift in Treatment of HCV Genotype 1 Infections, According to a New Report From Decision Resources

BURLINGTON, Mass., May 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that the majority of hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina rely entirely on government-sponsored medical programs to cover their treatment costs. However, in Mexico, approximately half of the population remains uncovered for HCV therapies, while the remaining population has access to only dual therapy through Social Security (SS). Surveyed clinicians in this country point to out-of-pocket costs and government/hospital-imposed budget restrictions as barriers to prescription drug treatment. Moreover, although Brazilian clinicians report higher rates of prescription drug treatment in all segments of diagnosed, viremic HCV public patients compared with physicians in Mexico and Argentina, treatment rates of nonresponders among surveyed clinicians are usually less than 40 percent in all countries.

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The Emerging Markets Physician & Payer Forum report entitled Positioning of Current and Emerging Agents for Hepatitis C Virus: Physician and Payer Perspectives on the Prescribing and Patient Access Landscape in Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina also finds that peg-IFN-alpha (Roche's Pegasys and Merck's PegIntron) enjoys full government sponsorship in all three countries, but current access to protease inhibitors (Johnson & Johnson's Incivo and Merck's Victrelis) is still very limited in some of the markets; therefore, peg-IFN/ribavirin is the treatment that surveyed clinicians most frequently prescribe to treatment-naive and nonresponder public patients. In Brazil, for example, triplet regimens are used in the treatment of only 20 percent of nonresponder HCV1 public patients and in only 5 percent of those who are treatment-naive.

The report also finds that in a scenario where all treatments for HCV are reimbursed by the government, surveyed clinicians clearly indicate their willingness to prescribe triple therapy to their HCV patients, including those with HCV genotype 2/3, despite the lack of evidence for clinical benefit in this subpopulation.

"Initiatives to include protease inhibitors in public programs in all three countries are currently gaining momentum," said Decision Resources Analyst Andreia Ribeiro, Ph.D. "In Brazil, Incivo and Victrelis are now being incorporated in public reference hospitals and state HCV programs, after a positive recommendation by CONITEC (the national HTA body) for the inclusion of protease inhibitors in the National Health System in July, 2012. In Argentina, the Superintendencia de Servicios de Salud recently included protease inhibitors in the coverage of the Single Refund System. Therefore, the different SS funds (Obras Sociales) can now be reimbursed for the provision of triple therapy treatment to HCV1 patients. Additionally, in Mexico, the fact that Victrelis was recently included in the national formularies may lead to the incorporation of this drug in the SS sector soon."

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SOURCE Decision Resources