Kuala Lumpur/Geneva – 25 November 2019
The non-profit research and development organization Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is pleased to announce a contribution of USD 2.2 million (9.2 million Malaysian Ringgit) from Malaysian pharmaceutical company, Pharmaniaga, to support the registration of a new treatment combination for people living with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in Malaysia.
The contribution by Pharmaniaga will support the registration of a new combination therapy using ravidasvir, which is being evaluated in combination with sofosbuvir in clinical trials in Malaysia co-sponsored by DNDi and the Malaysian Ministry of Health.
‘This support from Pharmaniaga will support the delivery of a new direct-acting antiviral treatment for hepatitis C. It will increase treatment options and facilitate access to medicines and the fruits of innovation in countries where the price of HCV is still a barrier,’ said Jean-Michel Piedagnel, Director of DNDi, South-East Asia.
HCV is a silent epidemic, as the huge majority of those infected are not aware of their status, show no symptoms of the disease, and therefore do not seek treatment. In recent years, drug prices have fallen considerably, but not enough for countries to roll out treatment widely or test-and-treat strategies that could lead towards elimination of the disease as a public health problem.
An estimated 400,000 people are living with hepatitis C in Malaysia. The Government of Malaysia has committed to providing HCV screening, diagnosis and treatment free of charge through the public health system. The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) and DNDi, is actively decentralizing hepatitis C treatment in order to scale up its efforts to treat more patients.
‘We see this contribution as affirmative action where we continue to work together to prevent, test, and treat hepatitis C. Pharmaniaga remains optimistic that as a nation, we will succeed in eliminating hepatitis C in Malaysia by 2030. We are also committed to finding the #missingmillions and providing cheaper alternative to treatment,’ said Dato’ Farshila Emran, Managing Director of Pharmaniaga.
DNDi and its industrial partners will pursue registration of ravidasvir in Malaysia in 2020.
About hepatitis C
HCV is one of the world’s most common infectious diseases, usually contracted through unsafe healthcare and injection drug use. Globally, more than 71 million people are chronically infected, over 80% of whom live in low- and middle-income countries – but only one in five people know they have the disease. Around 400,000 people die every year, and the mortality rate is increasing, making it a global health priority: the World Health Organization (WHO) has set an ambitious target of viral hepatitis elimination by 2030. In Malaysia, HCV disease burden is high and predicted to rise steeply over the coming decades, leading to a projected 63,900 HCV-related deaths by 2039.
The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is a not-for-profit R&D organization working to deliver new treatments for neglected patients, in particular for sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, filaria, mycetoma, paediatric HIV/AIDS, and hepatitis C virus (HCV). DNDi’s ambition is to enable access to HCV treatment, through the development and registration of affordable, safe, and efficacious pan-genotypic direct-acting antivirals (DAAs), and by supporting policy change and political will to remove barriers to access to DAAs globally. www.dndi.org
DNDi South East Asia
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Photo credit: Kitjapat Natthapisut-DNDi