Epclusa (generic name sofosbuvir / velpatasvir), the first pan-genotypic treatment*, has been approved for use in Canada against all six hep C virus types! Health Canada has issued Epclusa a Notice of Compliance!
The Importance of a Notice of Compliance (NOC)
Receiving a Notice of Compliance from Health Canada allows a treatment to be sold in Canada with official approval. If a drug has a Notice of Compliance, a doctor may prescribe it – but at this stage the new drug is still not available on public drug plans, like BC PharmaCare, just private insurers. Private insurers each decide company coverage of the new drug (i.e. what percentage of the drug costs they will cover).
The Importance of Epclusa
Epclusa, the first hep C pan-genotypic treatment, is amazing as it has the power to make hep C treatment much easier than it is now. As Dr. Jordan Feld, a liver specialist at Toronto Western Hospital, explained, a treatment that can be used for every virus type “…eliminates the need for [virus type/genotype] testing, which often delayed treatment and can be difficult to access for those living in rural or remote regions of the country….” (Ubelacker, The Canadian Press)
Also, Epclusa is the first treatment for patients with a hep C genotype 2 or 3 infection that doesn’t need ribavirin to achieve best treatment results.
Response by the Pacific Hepatitis C Network’s President, Daryl Luster
“The Pacific Hepatitis C Network is certainly pleased to hear that the first hepatitis C pan-genotypic, single pill, treatment has been approved for use in Canada.” said Daryl Luster, president of the Pacific Hepatitis C Network. “It is our hope that this approval signifies an end to interferon-based therapies. We also hope that this drug approval will lead to more people being able to access interferon-free treatment, regardless of their hep C genotype, treatment histories, or their access to local hepatitis C specialists.”
Epclusa is a short-course (12 weeks), interferon-free, hepatitis C treatment that can be prescribed with or without ribavirin. It is one pill taken once a day. With or without ribavirin, it cured 83-98% of patients in clinincal trials, it also cured 94% of those with moderate to severe liver cirrhosis.
*A pan-genotypic treatment is a treatment able to cure all six of the hep C virus types with high success rates against all six.