Korean physicians and patients have expressed high expectations for AbbVie Korea’s Maviret (ingredient: glecaprevir/pibrentasvir), a chronic hepatitis C therapy that reduced the treatment time by one month, the company said.
Some hepatitis C patients are reportedly holding their treatment to take Maviret instead, it said.
|AbbVie Korea holds a news conference on Maviret at the Plaza Seoul, Tuesday.|
AbbVie Korea announced that it would release Maviret soon, at a news conference at the Plaza Hotel Seoul, Tuesday.
The drugmaker won approval from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety for the treatment in January. The therapy began receiving insurance benefits from June.
“Maviret has many advantages, including the shortened treatment time to eight weeks, a wide scope of target patients, and high cure rate. As Maviret becomes another treatment option, the treatment is expected to help the nation fight against hepatitis C,” said Ahn Sang-hoon, a professor of internal digestive medicine at Yonsei University Severance Hospital.
Proving effectiveness in all genotypes from one to six, ribavirin-free Maviret can be taken with NS3/4A protease inhibitor glecaprevir 100 mg and the NS5A inhibitor pibrentasvir 40 mg, once a day with food.
“Conventional protease inhibitors had concerns over impaired liver functions such as increased hepatic levels and jaundice. However, Maviret reduced such risks,” Ahn said. “Compared to existing therapy Sunvepra, Maviret rarely has side effects.”
As Maviret is ribavirin-free when treating genotype-2 patients, who account for half of the nation’s hepatitis C patients, the drug lowers patients’ pain with excellent safety and efficacy, Ahn said. “Under its latest guidelines, the World Health Organization recommends pan-genotype therapies which do not require additional tests depending on patients and treatment phases.”
Such merits of Maviret have made some hepatitis C patients in genotype-2 wait for a Maviret prescription, Ahn said.
“Many hepatitis C patients are seniors, and they have adverse drug reactions to ribavirin. Genotype-1 patients either use existing drugs or wait for Maviret, depending on the severity of the disease or personal preference,” he added.
AbbVie Korea said it would make efforts to help physicians prescribe Maviret as soon as possible.
“Wholesalers started to distribute Maviret from yesterday. Large-sized hospitals are reviewing the drug through their drug committees,” said Won Yong-kyun, head of AbbVie Korea’s medical department.
Maviret treats patients with no cirrhosis and no treatment experience. The insurance benefit for the eight-week treatment is 10.9 million won ($9,686), and the patient pays 30 percent of it or 3.2 million won.