More physicians 'warehousing' patients as they await new hepatitis C treatments

Growing number of interferon-free drugs emerge

EXTON, Pa. — In anticipation of new treatments for hepatitis C, a growing number of physicians have begun intentionally delaying treatment for patients, according to a new study.

The study, by BioTrends Research Group, looked at the practice, known as "warehousing," finding that 1-in-5 surveyed gastroenterologists, hepatologists and infectious disease specialists had done so in the past six months, compared with six months ago, when the figure was 6%. The physicians are waiting for a new generation of treatments for hepatitis C that don't use proteins known as interferons.

"The protease inhibitors — Vertex's Incivek (telaprevir) and Merck's Victrelis (boceprivir) — were very important advances in the management of HCV infections," BioTrends associate director Lynn Price said. "However, there is still a clear unmet need for alternative HCV therapies and the recent [new drug application] filings for [Janssen and Medivir's] simeprevir and [Gilead Sciences'] sofosbuvir have physicians hopeful for new treatment options that are highly efficacious and more tolerable than the currently available protease inhibitors."


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