PETALING JAYA: A new affordable hepatitis C treatment will soon be introduced in Malaysia, making it possible for patients to receive treatment for the potentially fatal disease.
Malaysian pharmaceutical company Pharmaniaga Logistics Sdn Bhd (Pharmaniaga) had on Monday signed an agreement with Egyptian pharmaceutical company Pharco Pharmaceuticals (Pharco) and non-profit organization Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) to supply a new hepatitis C treatment regimen that will be sold for about US$300 (RM1,256.83).
According to DNDi, the organisation is currently running clinical trials to test a potentially pan-genotypic treatment combining the drug ravidasvir with the existing hepatitis C medicine sofosbuvir.
The clinical trial is ongoing in six hospitals and is co-sponsored by the Health Ministry. Initial results of the trial are expected in early 2018.
It added that a government-use licence issued by the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism in September 2017 enables the importation of generic sofosbuvir in order to make this drug available in the public health system at an affordable price nationwide.
It said currently, a full 12-week course of treatment is available for around US$70,000 (RM293,358) but the new drug combination of generic sofosbuvir and ravidasvir will reduce it by almost 100%.
It is estimated that 450,000 Malaysians carry the virus, according to Pharmaniaga.
HCV is mainly transmitted through contaminated blood. According to the World Health Organisation, a significant number of those chronically infected will also develop liver cancer.