Telaprevir-Based HCV Therapy is Expensive Too

With the arrival of newer expensive hepatitis C virus (HCV) therapies, there has been an effort to prove that the costs are within reason.  One study (Hepatology 2014; 60: 1187-95) looking at this issue examines the cost of a sustained virological response (SVR) with the previous best therapy: Telaprevir-Based Triple Therapy.

Design: Records from 147 patients who received telaprevir-based triple therapy in 2011 were reviewed.

According to the authors (supported by Gilead Sciences), median cost of care was $83,721 per patient and the median cost per SVR was $189,338.  The costs of two of the drugs, telaprevir and pegylated interferon, accounted for 85% of the total costs.  Other costs included adverse management (8%), ribavirin (4%), professional fees (2%), and laboratory fees (1%).

The main reason besides pharmaceutical prices for the high costs were the SVR rate of 44%.

Bottomline: If a patient requires HCV therapy, the newer, more effective, expensive agents are likely to compare favorably with the less new, less effective, expensive medications.

Related blog posts:

Also noted: Hepatology 2014; 60: 1211-21.  “WELCOME” Study tested whether 15-18 months of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) plus eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) decreased liver fat and histology in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). n=101, with 51 in treatment group. Findings the DHA+EPA had a “trend toward improvement in liver fat” percentage but no improvement in fibrosis.

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