Vertex Pharmaceuticals expects to discontinue sales of its protease inhibitor treatment for hepatitis C virus by October, according to a company spokesperson.
Incivek (telaprevir) is a prescribed medication to be used in combination with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin to treat adults with chronic HCV genotype 1 infection who have not been treated before or who have failed previous treatment, according to the Incivek website.
The reason for the discontinuance is due to the expanding market of HCV drug treatments and the decline in Incivek sales, according to Zachry A. Barber, director of corporate communications at Vertex.
“The primary reason for the decision was the continued, significant decline in the number of people starting treatment with Incivek, following the recent approval and anticipated arrival of new medicines for hepatitis C,” Barber told Healio.com/Hepatology. “A letter was sent to health care providers regarding this information.”
Approximately 65,000 people in the US are currently prescribed Incivek to treat HCV, according to the website. Patients currently taking Incivek will not be effected by the discontinuance, according to Barber.
“We will end the sale and distribution of Incivek in October, thus it will not be available in pharmacies after October 16, 2014,” Barber said. “If patients are on the medicine as of that date, or between now and then, they will be able to complete their course of treatment.”
Incivek was approved in May 2011 by the FDA to treat HCV in adults and the recommended treatment duration is 12 weeks. It was the second direct acting antiviral drug approved to treat HCV at the time, according to the FDA website. — By Melinda Stevens.