KUALA LUMPUR/GENEVA – 13th November 2017 – Malaysian pharmaceutical company Pharmaniaga Logistics Sdn Bhd (Pharmaniaga), Egyptian pharmaceutical company Pharco Pharmaceuticals (Pharco) and non-profit research and development organization Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) have signed a collaboration agreement to supply a new hepatitis C treatment regimen to be sold for US$300 in the public sector in Malaysia.
“It is estimated that there are around 450,000 people living with hepatitis C in Malaysia but most of them have been unable to access effective new hepatitis C treatment because of its very high price,” said Dato’ Farshila Emran, Managing Director of Pharmaniaga. “This agreement enables access to cheaper alternatives for patients in Malaysia, and we are proud to be embarking on this collaboration with DNDi and Pharco that would not have been possible without the Ministry of Health’s support.”
In partnership with the Malaysian Ministry of Health, DNDi is currently running clinical trials testing a potentially pan-genotypic treatment, combining the drug candidate ravidasvir, produced by Egyptian drug manufacturer Pharco Pharmaceuticals, with the existing hepatitis C medicine sofosbuvir. The clinical trial is ongoing in six hospitals and is co-sponsored by the Malaysian Ministry of Health, with initial results expected in early 2018.
“We applaud the Malaysian government in its efforts and commitment to make available affordable access to safe and effective treatments for hepatitis C,” said Jean-Michel Piedagnel, Head of DNDi South-East Asia. “The strategic investment from the Ministry of Health in helping develop a public health approach to the epidemic is remarkable.”
The agreement covers the supply of ravidasvir, once approved in Malaysia, and supply of sofosbuvir. A Government Use licence issued by the Malaysian Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism in September 2017 enables the importation of generic sofosbuvir in order to make this drug available in the public health system throughout the country at affordable prices.
“We hope that our collaboration with Pharmaniaga and DNDi to develop a treatment regimen that costs less than US$1 per day will lead to widespread access to safe, effective, and affordable treatment for hepatitis C patients in Malaysia and around the region,” said Dr. Sherine Helmy, CEO of Pharco Pharmaceuticals.
Currently a full 12-week course of treatment is available in Malaysia for around US$70,000. With the combination of generic sofosbuvir and ravidasvir, the cost for the same treatment will be made affordable with an almost 100% decrease in price.