Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that includes five different viral strains, referred to by letters from A through E. Of the five, hepatitis B, C and D can develop into long-term infection, or chronic hepatitis. This can lead to serious and life-threatening diseases such as liver cancer or liver failure. Viral hepatitis accounts for 1.4 million deaths per year – more than HIV/AIDS, or TB, or malaria.
There is no treatment for hepatitis A or E, but the infection normally resolves itself after a few months. An effective vaccine exists for hepatitis B, and acute hepatitis B often clears on its own. Treatment for chronic hepatitis B can take 24 to 48 months and is not always effective.
In the past several years, highly effective new treatment has been developed for hepatitis C. The preferred 12-week treatment uses two drugs, sofosbuvir and daclatasvir. The branded versions of these products remain expensive, but IDA is working with generic manufacturers to approve the quality of generic products as they become available.
IDA has already assessed and approved a generic version of sofosbuvir and offers it for sale. We plan to add more products to the portfolio of generic hepatitis C drugs in 2018. IDA is also able to source from the branded manufacturers, at the customer’s request.
WHO’s updated 2018 guidelines recommend therapy with pan-genotypic direct-acting antivirals (DAAs). DAAs can cure most persons with HCV infection, and treatment duration is short (usually 12 to 24 weeks), depending on the absence or presence of cirrhosis.