European Medicines Agency Approves Roche’s Hepatitis C Drug Pegasys To Treat Patients Co-Infected With HCV, HIV
The European Medicines Agency on Thursday approved Roche's hepatitis C drug Pegasys for the treatment of patients co-infected with HCV and HIV, Reuters reports. EMEA also voiced its support for the treatment of HIV/HCV co-infected people with a combination of Pegasys and ribavirin, which is sold by Roche under the brand name Copegus. The combination is the first that EMEA has approved for the treatment of individuals co-infected with HIV and HCV, according to Reuters. Approximately 30% of HIV-positive people worldwide also are co-infected with HCV, and co-infection is an "increasing problem," according to Reuters (Reuters, 12/17). "It is clearly important that we treat these patients as we now know that the leading cause of death in HIV/HCV co-infected patients is liver disease as a result of hepatitis C," Francesca Torriani, associate professor of medicine at the University of California-San Diego, said, adding, "With the great strides made with potent antiretroviral therapy allowing HIV-infected patients to live longer, we don't want to see those benefits disappear by the emergence of fatal liver disease" (Roche release, 12/17). The European Commission usually takes about 90 days to decide whether to approve recommendations made by EMEA (Reuters, 12/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.