Despite Diagnostic Inroads, the Hepatitis B Virus Patient Populations in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina Remain Undertreated

Public Sector Patients Rely on Government-Sponsored Programs to Cover HBV Drug Costs, Making it Critical for Manufacturers to Gain Inclusion in Government Formularies, According to a New Report from Decision Resources

Aug 01, 2013, 09:00 ET from Decision Resources

BURLINGTON, Mass., Aug. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that nearly 60 percent of surveyed physicians from Brazil, Mexico and Argentina report increases in the number of newly diagnosed hepatitis B virus (HBV) patients in their practices in the past two years. However, the majority of the seroprevalent HBV population in these markets remains undiagnosed and many patients are undertreated.


The Emerging Markets Physician & Payer Forum report entitled Positioning of Current and Emerging Agents for Hepatitis B Virus: Physician and Payer Perspectives on the Prescribing and Patient Access Landscape in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina finds that government-sponsored programs in Brazil and Argentina (Brazil's Specialized Program for Pharmaceutical Assistance and Argentina's Single Refund System) allow some patients to access a selection of fully covered HBV drugs. While most nucleotide analogues for HBV enjoy full coverage under these programs in Brazil and Argentina, no comparable government-sponsored programs yet exist in Mexico for HBV. Thus, Mexican HBV-infected patients not covered by Social Security often must pay out of pocket for treatment. Notably, the report finds that 61-79 percent of public HBV patients in the three markets rely entirely on government sponsorship to pay HBV drug costs. Surveyed physicians indicate that less than a quarter of patients receiving Gilead's Viread, or Bristol-Myers Squibb's Baraclude, are accessing these brands via private health insurance.

"All of the countries discussed in our report perform health technology assessment (HTA) evaluations to guide decisions on inclusion in government and social security drug formularies, either through national or institutional HTA bodies," said Decision Resources Product Manager Andreia Ribeiro, Ph.D. "New drugs need to establish not only a strong safety and efficacy profile, but they must also demonstrate value in terms of improved cost-benefit over current therapies to be included in formularies."

Several therapies may impact the HBV markets in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina during the next few years, including Bristol-Myers Squibb's PEG-IFN-lambda-1a and biosimiliars of PEG-IFN-alpha (Roche's Pegasys; Merck's PegIntron). More than 50 percent of public-sector surveyed physicians, and a sizeable proportion in the private sector, say that their hospital/institution will encourage prescribing of biosimilar agents, but that physicians will be able to prescribe a brand-name drug if they choose. Thus, near-term HBV market dynamics will hinge on emerging drug manufacturers' ability to provide compelling comparative clinical data versus reference products and their competitive suggested pricing.

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