A pharmaceutical company can decide to discontinue a medication for many reason reasons. Just like any other business, if a product does not sell as expected, the company can decide to stop making it—and this just what happened with Vertex Pharmaceuticals’s hepatitis C med Incivek.
What is Incivek used for?
Incivek is indicated for the treatment of adults with genotype 1 hepatitis C to be used in combination with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin. Hepatitis C is a viral infection that affects the liver and causes swelling and inflammation. It is contracted through the contact of blood from another person who is infected with the Hepatitis C virus.
Why was Incivek discontinued?
In the past few months the market for hepatitis medications has drastically changed with the introduction of new medications such as Sovaldi, Olysio, and the recently approved Harvoni. All three drugs have changed the way we treat the majority of patients with hepatitis C—specifically, these new options mean the use of fewer medications.
With that being said, Incivek was ultimately discontinued due to the alternative treatments that are available which have lead to a decrease in demand for older treatments.
When will the discontinuation take place?
The official discontinuation of Incivek was to take place by October 16, 2014.
However, Vertex Pharmaceuticals has instructed pharmacies to continue to fill prescriptions for patients who need to complete their course of therapy, and to call the prescribing doctor for any new prescriptions received to inform them of the discontinuation of Incivek. Courses of treatment are typically 12 weeks, so if you have been receiving Incivek, you should still be able to finish your treatment.