New treatment for Hepatitis C accepted for “restricted use” in Scotland

Sofosbuvir (Sovaldi®) is a new treatment for Hepatitis C which offers the prospect of fewer weeks of treatment, better success rates and reduced use of interferon.

Today the Scottish Medicines Consortium has issued advice accepting it for restricted use within NHS Scotland.

There website clarifies the restriction by saying,

Indication under review: in combination with other medicinal products for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C (CHC) in adults.

SMC restriction: Sofosbuvir is accepted for use in patients with genotypes 1 to 6.  Use in treatment-naive patients with genotype 2 is restricted to those who are ineligible for, or are unable to tolerate, peginterferon alfa.  Use of the 24-week interferon-free regimen of sofosbuvir in combination with ribavirin in patients with genotype 3 is restricted to those who are ineligible for, or are unable to tolerate, peginterferon alfa.

Sofosbuvir in combination with ribavirin, or peginterferon plus ribavirin, produced sustained virological suppression in patients with all genotypes of hepatitis C. It is the first medicine licensed for use in interferon-free regimens and may be associated with improved tolerability compared to standard interferon-based regimens.

No clinical or economic data were presented for treatment-experienced patients with genotype 1.

In response, Petra Wright, Scottish Officer for The Hepatitis C Trust said:

The Trust welcomes the SMC’s advice that sofosbuvir should be made available to NHS patients in Scotland, in what we hope to be the first of many emerging therapies for Hepatitis C. The advent of these ‘patient friendly’ medications will reduce treatment duration and the severity of side effects experienced by those affected.

Dan Farthing, Senior Executive Officer, of Haemophilia Scotland said:

Many of our members have had gruelling experiences with the currently available treatments and have faced the disappointment of their efforts being unsuccessful.  In most cases they were infected decades ago through their NHS treatment.  In practice that has meant years of arduous treatment and deteriorating health.  It is vital they have the option to take advantage of this new weapon against the virus.

Further details of the decision can be found in the SMC Detailed Advice.  The BBC Scotland News website has also covered this development.

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