World Health Organization Throws Weight Behind Hep C Treatments

The World Health Organization (WHO) has added the new hepatitis C virus (HCV) medications to its Model List of Essential Medicines. The move represents WHO’s commitment to encouraging access to hep C drugs worldwide. Governments and institutions often consult the WHO reference for guidance on their own lists of essential medications.

“When new effective medicines emerge to safely treat serious and widespread diseases, it is vital to ensure that everyone who needs them can obtain them,” WHO director-general Margaret Chan, MD, said in a press release. “Placing them on the WHO Essential Medicines List is a first step in that direction.”

Worldwide, an estimated 150 million people have hep C. About a half a million of them die from complications resulting from the virus each year.

Included in the list are Gilead Sciences’ Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) and Harvoni (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir), Janssen’s Olysio (simeprevir), Bristol-Myers Squibb’s daclatasvir, and the two components of AbbVie’s Viekira Pak (ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir; dasabuvir), as well as interferon and ribavirin.

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