651 Portuguese Hepatitis C patients cured since the introduction of Sofosbuvir

By Márcio Barra

FILE - This undated file photo provided by Gilead Sciences shows the hepatitis C medication Sovaldi. Gilead Sciences says it has reached a deal with several generic drugmakers to produce cheaper versions of its popular, expensive hepatitis C drug Sovaldi for use in developing countries. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Gilead Sciences, File)

Sofosbuvir, Gilead´s Hepatitis C drug which is making waves due to its high cure rate (approximately 90%) and high treatment cost, has already cured 651 Hepatitis C patients in Portugal since it was made available, according to the National Competent Authority INFARMED to Diário de Notícias.

The drug (marketed as Sovaldi for the Sofosbuvir-only formulation, and as Harvoni for the combination of Ledipasvir and Sofosbuvir) was made available following an agreement between the Ministry of Health, INFARMED and Gilead Sciences to treat 13,000 hepatitis C patients. The agreement was concluded on February 2015 following weeks of negotiations. So far, 5322 patients are currently undergoing treatment, with 683 reaching the end of treatment. 32 patients were not cured of Hepatitis C, and hospitals have not reported the causes for the non-response to treatment. As for the total cost of payment per patient, the amount remains undisclosed.

In Portugal, it is estimated about 100,000 people are living with hepatitis C and a large proportion of them have developed cirrhosis. The prices of Sofosbuvir across European member states- in excess of €50,000- make Sobusfuvir a heated topic of discussion among healthcare regulators.

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