Cheap and expensive hepatitis C drugs just as effective

Researchers from GP2U Telehealth in Australia found that cheap versions of hepatitis C drugs are just as safe and effective as their (way more) expensive equivalent.

This is very good news for all the hepatitis C patients residing in countries where they don’t have access to the brand-name drugs because of its high price. Cheaper versions of drugs are also more likely to be covered by your health insurance than the pricey brand-name ones.

In the United States the costs of one course of this medicine can add up to $94,000 (about €83,500) per patient, while the generic version can be bought for less than $1,000 (about €885). Prices of the generic drugs are expected to decrease even more in the upcoming years.

Dr. James Freeman, author of the study, said: “our interim data suggests a potential solution for hepatitis C patients in areas where treatment access has been restricted as a result of the high prices demanded for branded treatment”. Freeman also mentioned during a news release that curing hepatitis C entirely could now be financially feasible.

One week after this information came to light, seven insurance companies in New York stated that they will expand their hepatitis C coverage, meaning that almost every New York health insurance company would cover treatment for this disease. While not directly stated, it is possible that these decisions are a result of the new findings.

This article was updated on 04/05/2016.

Image: [Martin Vorel]