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MSD launches hepatitis C drug Victrelis in UK

MSD today launched chronic hepatitis C treatment Victrelis in the UK

MSD (known as Merck in the US and Canada), today launched Victrelis (boceprevir) in the UK. The drug is a new treatment for chronic hepatitis C genotype 1 in adults with compensated liver disease who have yet to undergo treatment or have failed previous therapy.

Victrelis is the first licensed treatment for hepatitis C which is direct acting, targeting the virus itself. The launch follows an accelerated assessment by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), due to its "major public-health need."

In comparison to current therapies, Victrelis works through inhibiting a key viral enzyme, affecting the virus' ability to replicate.

Victrelis is to be used in combination with the current standard treatment to tackle genotype 1 of the virus, the most prominent strand in the UK, affecting 40-50 per cent of patients.

In clinical trials of those who had previously failed treatment, the addition of Victrelis to standard therapy almost tripled the number of patients clearing the virus.

2nd August 2011

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