ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Over three million Americans, mostly baby boomers, are living with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and nearly 80% don't know they're living with a disease that, absent intervention, may give rise to advanced liver disease, including liver cancer. A new study prepared by the actuarial firm Milliman, Inc. reports that, without changes in how these patients are identified and managed, the annual cost of advanced liver disease in HCV patients will jump to $85 billion in the next two decades. Medicare costs will soar 500%, from $5 billion to $30 billion. Most individuals living with HCV were born between 1946 and 1964 and a disproportionate disease burden is borne by African Americans, who are almost twice as likely to have HCV as the general population. The $85 billion estimated cost includes overall direct medical costs for patients with HCV infection.
Consequences of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV): Costs of a Baby Boomer Epidemic of Liver Disease, a new study commissioned by Vertex Pharmaceuticals, projects the direct medical cost impact of HCV on commercial and government payers over the next 20 years assuming no changes to current HCV management. Milliman employed payer datasets, population survey results and disease progression information to project chronic HCV disease states and associated direct medical costs. Societal burdens other than costs of HCV disease were not considered in the study.
"Hepatitis C presents a looming and underappreciated public health epidemic, with vital consequences for our nation's health and health care costs. As with other chronic diseases, much more can and should be done to prevent it and its complications. By addressing viral hepatitis with urgency, we have a real opportunity to spare millions of people from the consequences of advanced liver disease and liver cancer and avoid billions of dollars in potential costs," said Dr. Mark B. McClellan, Director, Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform, Brookings Institution.
The authors point out that "receiving treatment for HCV prior to the onset of severe complications can reduce long-term, life-threatening consequences, though only an estimated 22% of those infected with HCV are diagnosed." The report concludes that, "as the population ages and the disease progresses, government payers will bear the majority of the financial impact of chronic HCV infection."
"Millions of patients are affected by hepatitis C and hundreds of thousands will experience serious consequences of advanced liver disease, many, if not most, within their retirement years. This report is the clarion call for increased focus and resources to address preventable consequences of this mostly unrecognized infection," according to Gary L. Davis, M.D., Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.
I retired 2007 from SGP/MRK(Boceprivir) and yet I own shares in VRTX(Telaprivir)....longs will be vindicated and the CF platform is game changing!
I bought my first shares at 21 thanx to iron2-2000 who I miss and used to debate frequently on another board! He is very bright and kept me on my toes!
the VRTX 7.7M recent share dilution is a nescesary stock plan incentive to support talent for FDA application 2010 and launch soon after! Approval will come quickly! Buy on any weakness/dips!
remember SGP/MRK are not the enemy...VRTX must cont. to execute internally/externally and from my perspective they are doing quite well!
have faith and be patient!
These kind of studies provide importaant support for the use of telaprevir in the future. Giving a financial impact study of the disease and the relative cost savings of any new treatment will be key to it's acceptance and approval by payors, and health care providers, and patients. The future health care budget (which will be in the news throughout the year), will emphaisze the use of cost effective treatments. Telaprevir's phase two sutdies demonstrated a higher percentrage of cure rates in shorter (24 week) courses of treatment compared to boceprevir, giving it an obvious advantage in this repsect when payors and providers consider the costs and need to choose between the two agents. Telaprevir, being significantly more effective in prior SOC treatment failure paitents compared to boceprevir in phase 2 studies, will give it an obvious advantage in that group even if 48 week treatment is deemed necessary in that subpopulation.
It seems to me that posting this news now might have something to do with the fact that Obama has been making a lot of noises in the past few days about the need to get health care costs under control. VRTX (and others) need to make the case that their expensive new drugs are actually "cheaper" in the overall scheme of things. So, this is just good politics.
I used to say..."I'm not in THE business...I AM the business." Now there are 3 million of us IN the business and holy moly, what a mess.
Here's hoping teleprevir is an integral part of addressing the epidemic...because it may be under-reported and under diagnosed, but for AT LEAST three million of us, it IS an epidemic. And to say that current tx does not address the issue is truly an understatement.
There's a lot riding on this company and it's primary drug...kind of scary to me sometimes.