Hepatitis C virus is a blood-borne virus that infects liver cells, resulting in illness that ranges from mild and transient effects such as easy bleeding, fatigue, yellow discoloration of skin and eyes, and others to chronic and serious life-threatening conditions such as liver cirrhosis, liver cancer or liver failure. Hepatitis C virus is transmitted through needlestick injuries, organ transplant from a carrier, sexually or from infected mother to fetus. Globally, hepatitis C virus exists in six distinct forms based on its genotypes amongst which Type 1 is the most common form representing around 60 -70 per cent of global infections. Hepatitis C is diagnosed by blood tests for estimating viral load and genotyping, and liver damage tests such as magnetic resonance elastography (MRE), transient elastography, and liver biopsy. Antiviral drugs, which inhibits protease or polymerase enzyme of virus is one of the treatments available for infection caused due to hepatitis C. Currently, no vaccines are available for the prevention of hepatitis C virus and this provides scope for the market players to expand their company portfolio.
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Hepatitis C drug market Driver
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2017, around 71 million people were infected by chronic hepatitis C worldwide. Furthermore, WHO considers Eastern Mediterranean and European regions to be the most affected regions with the prevalence rate of 2.3% and 1.5% respectively. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 2.7 million to 3.9 million people in the U.S. suffer from hepatitis C. This increasing prevalence of hepatitis C will drive growth of hepatitis C drug market. Furthermore, this blood- borne virus is easily transmitted by sharing injection equipment, transfusion of infectious blood, sexually or from infected mother to infant, which will further propel growth of hepatitis C drug market.
The governmental initiatives for patients to receive expanded drug coverage is also expected to drive growth of the market. For instance, in 2018, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care of Ontario announced that all patients are eligible for Ontario Drug Benefit (ODP) irrespective of severity of their disease. In the same year, Thunder Bay group, HIV / AIDS / hepatitis C education and support services provider, expanded its access to medicines, as a result of successful negotiations between the provinces and drug manufacturers.
There are significant number of drugs available for Hepatitis C over the past few years and is expected to increase over the forecast period due to large number of drugs in pipeline. Hepatitis C drug market is revolutionized by direct acting antivirals (DAAs), which aid in the development of highly effective, INF-free hepatitis C drug regimen in contrast to standard treatment. The pipeline consists of dual as well as triple DDA combinational therapy against hepatitis C virus. A combination of drugs is more effective for the treatment of hepatitis C as compared to single regimen.
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For instance, in 2016, Gilead submitted a new drug application to the U.S. FDA for the fixed-dose combination SOF/VEL/voxilaprevir for treatment of HCV genotypes 1–6. Moreover, in January 2017, EMA granted assessment of SOF/VEL/voxilaprevir combination. Furthermore, in 2017, the U.S. FDA approved AbbVie’s Mavyret, a combination of glecaprevir and pibrentasvir for the treatment of hepatitis C. Hepatitis C drug market is hindered due to high medication cost and denial for Medicaid patients.
Hepatitis C Drug Market
The major players in hepatitis C drug market include Merck & Co. Inc., Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Roche, Gilead Sciences Inc., AbbVie Inc., Johnson & Johnson, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.