New treatment available for hepatitis C

AbbVie New Zealand has announced that Maviret is now available and fully funded by Pharmac, giving New Zealanders living with all major genotypes of hepatitis C access to a high certainty of viral cure.

Maviret is a new, once-daily tablet treatment for adults with any major genotype of hepatitis C. Most people will only need to take Maviret for eight weeks.

The therapy contains two direct-acting anti-viral agents that work to block the lifecycle of the hepatitis C virus in a patient. Doctors consider a patient virologically cured of hepatitis C if the patent has undetectable levels of the virus 12 weeks after completing the treatment course.

There could be an estimated 50,000 New Zealanders living with hepatitis C and approximately 1,000 new infections every year. Left untreated, hepatitis C can cause cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer.

“Chronic hepatitis C is an important cause of liver failure, liver cancer and liver-related deaths in New Zealand,” says Chief hepatologist, transplant physician and deputy director of the New Zealand Liver Transplant Unit at Auckland City Hospital, Professor Ed Gane.

“With early diagnosis and new treatments we could prevent hepatitis C related illness and death in New Zealand.

“The funding of new treatments takes New Zealand one step closer to eliminating hepatitis C as a public health threat and reaching the World Health Organisation target of global elimination of hepatitis C by 2030,” he says.

General Manager AbbVie New Zealand, Andrew Tompkin says the funding of Maviret would have a positive impact on the lives of many New Zealanders living with hepatitis C, offering them a high certainty of cure from the virus.

“We have seen significant medical advancements in the development of hepatitis C medicines from the initial discovery of the virus in the 1980s, to the development and commercialisation of today’s direct-acting antivirals, which provide an opportunity to eliminate the disease in New Zealand within a generation.

“This new treatment option will mean more New Zealanders living with hepatitis C can be successfully treated.

“AbbVie is committed to helping eliminate hepatitis C by providing treatment options and supporting community elimination programmes across the world,” he says.

All medicines have adverse effects and may impact different people in different ways. In clinical trials with Maviret, the most common adverse effects were mild in nature and included feeling tired, headache and nausea.

Refer to the Consumer Medicines Information or your doctor or pharmacist for further information about Maviret.

New Zealanders with hepatitis C are encouraged to see their doctor to have their liver health assessed and to discuss treatment options.

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