More UK patients will now be eligible for two costly hepatitis C treatments

Sofosbuvir has received the green light from NICE but will not be available to patients until August 2015, while simeprevir will only be accessible through a patient access scheme.

Expensive treatments for hepatitis C will now be available to more patients in the UK, according to final draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published on 16 January 2015.

NICE has extended its original draft recommendations for simeprevir and sofosbuvir to cover more people with hepatitis C. However, patients will have to wait until August 2015 for sofosbuvir, and simeprevir will be available only under a groundbreaking ‘pay if you clear’ deal agreed with the manufacturer.

NICE has issued final draft guidance[1] recommending simeprevir (Olysio, Janssen), in combination with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin, as an option for treating two forms of hepatitis – genotype 1 and genotype 4 (4% of diagnoses). The previous draft guidance did not recommend simeprevir for treating genotype 4.

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