June/July 2017 

New treatments for hepatitis C virus (HCV) to get approved in Canada later this year

In 2017, pharmaceutical companies expect to see two new treatments for hepatitis C virus approved. These new treatments will be fixed-dose combinations of two or three drugs, as follows:

  • sofosbuvir + velpatasvir + voxilaprevir (Vosevi, made by Gilead Sciences)
  • glecaprevir + pibrentasvir (Maviret, made by AbbVie)

These drugs have powerful activity against a broad range of different strains (or genotypes) of HCV.

Both sets of new treatments are likely to be licensed in late summer or early autumn 2017 by Health Canada and a similar time frame is expected by regulatory agencies in the United States and European Union.

Once a drug is approved by Health Canada, it undergoes further reviews and analyses. After these have been completed, pharmaceutical companies then engage in negotiations with Canada’s provinces and territories to find a mutually agreeable price. Only after those negotiations are concluded do new drugs get listed on provincial and territorial formularies. These processes mean that it could take at least six months after a new drug is licensed before subsidized use becomes possible on a large scale in Canada. Even people with private insurance coverage for medicines usually have to wait several months after a treatment (for HCV or any other condition) is approved by Health Canada before it makes it onto a list of drugs covered by insurance companies.

In this issue of TreatmentUpdate we present data on these upcoming treatments for hepatitis C virus.

—Sean R. Hosein