Contact: Joelle Dountio Ofimboudem email@example.com
August 2, 2023 – Treatment Action Group welcomes the inclusion of Ravidasvir on the World Health Organization (WHO) Essential Medicines List (EML) as a direct-acting antiviral (DAA) for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in adults. Ravidasvir is now recommended for use in combination with sofosbuvir as an alternative pangenotypic DAA.
Ravidasvir is the fruit of a public-private partnership between the Malaysian Ministry of Health, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), an Egyptian pharmaceutical company, Pharco, a Malaysian pharmaceutical company, Pharmaniaga Berhad, and Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF). This makes Ravidasvir the first HCV cure to be developed through South-South collaboration and with funding and clinical support from non-profit organizations.
The addition of Ravidasvir to the WHO EML provides an additional pangenotypic and more affordable treatment combination option – Sofosbuvir/Ravidasvir (SOF/RAV) – to people living with HCV and health systems, particularly in high-burden middle-income countries left out of Gilead’s voluntary licenses on sofosbuvir-based treatments where DAAs are still unaffordable. This will also promote competition in the HCV drug market, drive down prices and provide additional treatment options for patients with hard-to-treat genotypes.
Despite this heartening news, broadening treatment options will not address all the main barriers to HCV elimination, and more work is needed to overcome them. We call for more effective HCV policies, including the simplification of care, simplification and scale-up of diagnosis, dedicated political leadership, increased funding, and integration of HCV into other health care programs like HIV and sexual and reproductive health programs. Implementing these measures at the national level would significantly contribute towards finding the missing millions of people living with HCV, many of whom do not know their status. Policymakers must leverage the momentum around World Hepatitis Day to implement changes needed to expand access to the cure for everyone with HCV to ensure the WHO 2030 viral hepatitis elimination goals are met.
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