VICTRELIS™ Now Available for Eligible Patients in Ontario

Ontario first province to reimburse new chronic hepatitis C treatment

MONTREAL, Nov. 22, 2011 /CNW/ - Ontarians living with chronic hepatitis C now have publicly funded access to a new treatment option, as Ontario becomes the first province to reimburse VICTRELIS (boceprevir). The treatment qualified for a pre-approval rapid review under the Ontario Drug Benefit Act (ODBA), as it successfully met a pre-determined set of criteria, including offering substantial improvements of significant outcomes for the treatment of a serious disease.1

Boceprevir is a first-in-class oral hepatitis C virus (HCV) protease inhibitor for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C genotype 1 infection. It is to be used in combination with peginterferon alpha and ribavirin (peg/riba) in adult patients (18 years and older) with compensated liver disease, including cirrhosis, who are previously untreated or who have failed previous therapy.2 When added to peg/riba, boceprevir can significantly increase a patient's chance of clearing the virus from the body.3,4 The treatment was authorized for use in Canada in July of this year.

"The Canadian Liver Foundation is pleased that Ontario's public drug program has agreed to reimburse boceprevir for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C," says Dr. Morris Sherman, Chairman of the Canadian Liver Foundation. "Boceprevir represents a major advance in our ability to cure this disease, and as a result, fewer patients will have to struggle with the consequences of end-stage liver disease, liver transplants and liver cancer. We applaud the research efforts that led to this breakthrough and hope other provinces will follow Ontario's lead and rapidly reimburse this important treatment."

Eligibility criteria for boceprevir can be accessed through the following link:
http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/drugs/pdf/frequently_requested_drugs.pdf

Hepatitis C in Canada
An estimated 250,000 individuals in Canada are infected with HCV and there are 3,200 to 5,000 newly infected individuals each year.5 HCV damages the liver and may lead to serious complications, including death, when left untreated.6 It is the leading cause of liver transplants in Canada.7

About Merck
Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer and animal products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information about our operations in Canada, visit www.merck.ca.

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TM Trademark of Schering Corporation, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. Used under license.


1  Guidelines for Rapid Review Submissions. http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/pub/drugs/dsguide/docs/rapid.pdf. Accessed November 15, 2011, p. 1.
2  VICTRELIS, Product Monograph, July 27, 2011, p. 3.
3  Poordad, F., et al., for the SPRINT-2 Investigators. Boceprevir for Untreated Chronic HCV Genotype 1 Infection.
N Engl J Med 2011; 364:1195-1206, page 1195.
4  Bacon, B.R., et al., for the HCV RESPOND-2 Investigators. Boceprevir for Previously Treated Chronic HCV Genotype 1
Infection. N Engl J Med 2011; 364:1207-1217, p. 1207.
5   Canadian Institutes of Health Research. About the Hep C Research Initiative. http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/38855.html. Accessed November 2, 2011.
6  Public Health Agency of Canada. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hepc/pubs/multiling-hepc/index-eng.php. Accessed November 2, 2011.
7  Canadian Liver Foundation. http://www.liver.ca/Liver_Disease/. Accessed November 2, 2011.

 

 

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