The World Health Organization (WHO) has added a new hepatitis C treatment to its updated 2017 Essential Medicines List.
According to the WHO Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines, which updates the list every two years, global health experts considered about 100 new medicines this year, ultimately adding 55 to the list.
This year’s update includes a new combination therapy that can treat all six genotypes of hepatitis C virus (HCV), Gilead Sciences’ sofosbuvir/velpatasvir, sold in the United States under the brand name Epclusa.
Other additions include the HIV medication Tivicay (dolutegravir), HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), two oral cancer treatments, fentanyl skin patches and methadone for pain relief among cancer patients, new pediatric formulations of medicines for tuberculosis and, in an effort to combat antibiotic drug resistance, a major revision of the antibiotics section.
The Essential Medicines List is used by many countries around the world to guide decisions about which medications they should ensure are available for their populations and as an international benchmark for increasing access to treatment.