AbbVie New Zealand today announced that MAVIRET® (glecaprevir/pibrentasvir) will be fully funded by PHARMAC from 1 February 2019 giving New Zealanders living with all major genotypes of hepatitis C access to a high certainty of viral cure.

Professor Ed Gane, chief hepatologist, transplant physician and deputy director of the New Zealand Liver Transplant Unit at Auckland City Hospital welcomes the announcement.

“Chronic hepatitis C is an important cause of liver failure, liver cancer and liver-related deaths in New Zealand. With early diagnosis and new treatments we could prevent hepatitis C-related illness and death in New Zealand.”

Gane says the therapy provides many people living with hepatitis C the opportunity to be free of the virus in as little as eight weeks.

“The funding of MAVIRET® takes New Zealand one step closer to eliminating hepatitis C as a public health threat and reaching the World Health Organisation target of global elimination of hepatitis C by 2030,” he said.

Hepatitis C is an infectious, viral disease that affects up to 50,000 New Zealanders, but only about half of those have been diagnosed. The majority of New Zealanders living with hepatitis C have yet to receive treatment and may be eligible for treatment with MAVIRET®. Left untreated, hepatitis C can cause cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer.

MAVIRET® is a new once-daily therapy for adults with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection across all major genotypes (GT1-6). Most people will only need to take MAVIRET for eight weeks. It is supported by clinical studies that showed a 98 percent viral cure rate after eight weeks of treatment in GT1-6 treatment naïve, non-cirrhotic patients.

In clinical trials with over 2,000 patients, less than 0.1 percent of patients discontinued treatment due to adverse reactions. The most commonly reported adverse events were headache, fatigue and nausea.

Andrew Tompkin, General Manager AbbVie New Zealand said the funding of MAVIRET® would have a positive impact on the lives of many New Zealanders living with hepatitis C.

“We have seen significant medical advancements in the development of hepatitis C medicines from the initial discovery of the virus in the 1980s, to the development and commercialisation of today’s direct-acting antivirals which provide an opportunity to eliminate the disease in New Zealand within a generation.”

Health Minister David Clark says PHARMAC’s decision to fund new drug is a big step forward for the treatment of hepatitis C in New Zealand.

“There are around 21,000 people diagnosed with hepatitis C in New Zealand and a further 30,000 are thought to have the disease but are undiagnosed. All of these people will potentially benefit from Maviret.

“Previous treatments were only available to around 3000 people due to the type of hepatitis C they had.”

 All prescribers in New Zealand can prescribe MAVIRET® and are advised to review full data sheet before prescribing. More information is available at www.maviret.co.nz.  The username and password are both GT1-6.

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