Generic drugs for Hepatitis C are cost-effective: study

The treatment with generic drugs became cost-effective within two years and cost-saving within 10 years of starting treatment, reveals a study. Read on

By Monika Kundu Srivastava
New Delhi: Generic varieties of direct-acting antivirals for treatment of Hepatitis C infections are cost-effective when Savings in terms of improved life expectancy and avoidance of complications are considered, a new study has pointed out.
Researchers led by Dr Rakesh Aggarwal from the Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, in their study have found that the generic versions of drugs— Sofosbuvir, Ledipasvir and Daclatasvir – are cost-effective for Indian patients.
It was found that lifetime healthcare costs got reduced by as much as about Rs 84,000 per person while the life expectancy increased by eight years as against those who were not receiving any treatment.
The treatment with generic drugs became cost-effective within two years and cost-saving (improved life expectancy and reduction in costs due to complications) within 10 years of starting treatment. Cost saving was sooner for patients with advanced disease across all age groups irrespective of the gender.
The findings are particularly significant as they encourage people who may have lost hope of recovery to take medicines in order to prevent further complications and motivate doctors and policy makers to prioritize the treatment of persons with advanced disease.
About 71 million people are estimated to be affected with chronic Hepatitis C infection globally and of them six to 11 million are estimated to be in India.  A leading cause for cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), which is the most common type of liver cancer, and other liver-related deaths, Hepatitis C infection can also have major economic implications due to expenditure on testing, treatment and number of working hours lost due to the disease, besides other indirect costs.
In the study published in scientific journal Plos One, the researchers noted that treating of 10,000 HCV-infected persons could help prevent 3400 to 3850 deaths due to de-compensated cirrhosis, 1800 to 2500 deaths due to HCC, and 4000 to 4550 deaths due to other liver-related diseases.
The generic drugs for HCV are available in India for about Rs. 19000 for each 12-week treatment course, as against Rs. 2.5 lakhs to Rs. 5 lakh for branded drugs sold in US and Europe. In several countries, these medicines are ‘rationed’ due to high costs. The research team also included Qiushi Chen, Amit Goel, Nicole Seguy, Razia Pendse, Turgay Ayer and Jagpreet Chhatwal.  (India Science Wire)