PBAC delay on crucial new hep C treatments

Boceprevir (Victrelis) and telaprevir (Incivo) are known to improve treatment responses by 20–30% for patients with  harder to treat genotype 1 infection, which is the most common in Australia, viral hepatitis experts say.

The protease inhibitors are approved for subsidised use in Europe and Canada but applications in Australia have been lodged and rejected going back to July last year, the sponsors have confirmed. 

The PBAC again considered applications – as well as fresh supporting evidence in submissions from clinical societies – at its meeting this month, where it is understood a decision was made to defer consideration until July.

Meanwhile, patients who failed to benefit from existing therapy, or who were unlikely to benefit, were in limbo, said Dr Ben Cowie, an infectious diseases physician from Royal Melbourne Hospital.

“These are people who don’t have a lot of options and who may have been