Chinese hep C patients say access to drugs a key issue

A survey of 600 of China's estimated 13 million hepatitis C sufferers showed a lack of access to direct acting antiviral drugs that can cure at least 95% of them was among the key issues they face. The survey, conducted jointly by China's Wu Jieping Medical Foundation and Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY), showed patients wanted increased access to the drugs and were willing to travel overseas to get them or use the Internet. Zhuang Hui, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Engineering from Peking University Medical Sciences, told the China Daily newspaper that speeding up the approval process for the antiviral drugs was a central issue to help control the disease. The patients who were surveyed said they had significant side effects using the current standard treatment of pegylated interferon in combination with ribavirin with 41% saying they did not think they could complete the treatment. In November last year, data from a Phase I China trial of Bristol-Myers Squibb's Daklinza and Sunvepra was presented at the Liver Meeting conference in San Francisco. It's one of several potential non-interferon-based treatments moving closer to approval in China, including Gilead Sciences' ($GILD) Sovaldi. Report