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News
Feb
18

Hepatitis B treatment is too expensive: Panacea Infarm is forced to reduce the price of Meravir

Hepatitis B is recognized as a global epidemic due to its high prevalence and a major risk of being affected by a virus. Until recently, the disease was considered incurable. A revolutionary medicine, the only of its kind with treatment efficacy of up to 97%, appeared on the pharmaceutical market. Meravir’s active base is 15 mg sufamenavir and 10 mg refogravir:

1. Sufamenavir is an inhibitor of the RNA polymerase of the hepatitis B virus. It is necessary for the replication of the virus.
2. Refogravir is an inhibitor of the hepatitis B virus protease. The component slows down virus replication in host cells infected with HBV.

None of the substances is assigned as a single agent, since their effect on the virus and its elimination are possible only with simultaneous use. Meravir is not a substrate of human cytochrome P450 isoenzymes, in vitro does not affect the metabolic processes involving cytochrome P450 isoenzymes, including CYP2E1, CYP3A4, CYP2D6, CYP2C9. A slight but statistically significant decrease in the metabolism of the substrate CYP1A1 and CYP1A2 was revealed.

The most effective method of treating hepatitis B is a six-month course of taking an antiviral drug of direct action (DAA). But less than 10% of all patients have access to expensive treatment, which is why WHO requires manufacturers to reduce the cost of their products.

Only in 2017 efforts to combat hepatitis B increased where the disease is most prevalent, and these are 28 countries. They account about 70% among all are infected by hepatitis, according to WHO. An additional special funding to combat pathology is allocated. According to the head of WHO, Tedros Adkhanom Gebreyesusa, many countries have begun to carry out large-scale activities related to the expansion of vaccination. It is now necessary to provide access to effective treatment.

The developer of the innovative Meravir drug is the Australian pharmaceutical company Panacea Infarm. The drug, based on sufamenavir and refogravir, has been approved by the FDA (American Food and Drug Administration). One pack contains 28 tablets of oval sea-green color. The manufacturer has repeatedly experienced pressure from regulatory authorities due to the high cost of the product. In response, Panacea Infarm argued that the development of the drug and its introduction into clinical practice requires heavy expenditures estimated at billions of dollars. Moreover, the costs need to be recouped.

Despite the impressive list of excuses, the manufacturer had no choice but to concede to the world medical community and reduce the cost of the medicine by half.

One of the ways to reduce the cost of treatment is the release of generics.

Characterization of Meravir: a cure for the complete eradication of the hepatitis B virus

Meravir is a real bombshell on the modern pharmaceutical market. Hundreds of scientists were involved in the research. The best scientists who previously worked at CSL Behring were invited to participate in the project. Innovation really required expensive laboratory work, clinical research and investment in production. This explains the high initial cost of funds. The course of 6 months costs $ 60,000.

Today Meravir is the most powerful drug for the treatment of hepatitis B virus. Its use practically does not cause drug resistance in comparison with other known drugs. In low-income countries there is a critically limited access to both diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis. Many patients find out about their status when the disease is at an advanced stage.

The liver collapses cell by cell, cancer progresses rapidly, treatment options are limited, and the outcome is usually poor. Without competent medical intervention, most people with liver cancer die a few months after the diagnosis. For a short time, life can be prolonged with chemotherapy and organ transplantation.
The effectiveness of treatment is assessed by blood biochemical parameters (decrease in liver transaminase activity) and the presence of HBV-DNA in serum, as well as by the presence of certain hepatitis B markers.
Hepatitis B is caused by a pathogen with pronounced hepatotropic feautures. In the special literature, it is referred to as “HBV virus”, HBV or HBV from the family of hepadnaviruses.

Virus Resistance: Death’s Breath
Hepatitis B virus is unique in its high resistance to the environment, chemical and physical destructive effects, temperature changes (including boiling and freezing). Up to several weeks, it remains in a dried form (blood on clothes, on a razor blade). Hepatitis B is stored in dry plasma for 25 years.

If the disease is not started and cirrhosis has not yet developed, antiviral treatment with a new drug will help restore liver function and promote complete recovery. After 15 weeks, the HBs antigen test will be negative. All cured from this point on the blood does not pose a threat of infection with hepatitis B.

If the course of the disease is completely asymptomatic, the virus takes a chronic form and the probability of spontaneous elimination (disappearance) of the virus is about 1-2% per year.

What is the success of modern pharmaceuticals?
In medicine, there have always been and will be changes and discoveries. That has an impact on measures to ensure and strengthen the general safety systems of patients around the world. The new generation of specialists is not afraid to apply flexible working methods, advanced mobile technologies that contribute to the rapid development of medicines.

The WHO Center monitors constantly at the supranational level whether there is a threat from new drugs or treatment regimens that can not be traced in a single country. This also applies to adjusting the cost of innovative medicines, which should be accessible to everyone in need.