Ci­pla, FIND Tie up to De­tect Hep­ati­tis C

Only 1% of 12 m peo­ple with Hep­ati­tis C are di­ag­nosed with liver dis­ease in In­dia

The Economic Times - - Companies - Prabha.Ragha­van @times­group.com

New Delhi: In­dian phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal gi­ant Ci­pla has part­nered with FIND, a global non-profit fo­cused on de­liv­er­ing af­ford­able di­ag­nos­tic tools, in a project to in­crease de­tec­tion of Hep­ati­tis C cases in the country. Only 1% of an es­ti­mated 12 mil­lion peo­ple in In­dia with Hepa- titis C ( HCV) are ac­tu­ally di­ag­nosed with the liver dis­ease to­day, said Catharina Boehme, CEO of Foun­da­tion for In­no­va­tive New Di­ag­nos­tics (FIND) that works on ac­cel­er­at­ing de­vel­op­ment and de­liv­ery of af­ford­able di­ag­nos­tic tests for poverty-re­lated dis­eases.

“In or­der to cap­i­talise on the (block­buster oral drugs like So­fos­bu­vir) that we have now, di­ag­no­sis is the bot­tle neck,” she said. Ci­pla and FIND have col­lab­o­rated to in­crease ac­cess to screen­ing fa­cil­i­ties and cheaper di­ag­nos­tic tools, Boehme said. The Geneva­head­quar­tered non-profit is in the process of ne­go­ti­at­ing a grant agree­ment with global health or­gan­i­sa­tion UNI­TAID and at least a third of the grant would be in- vested in its project in In­dia, she said. “Our plan is to work with the UNI­TAID project and build di­ag­nos­tic ca­pac­ity and have this com­ple­mented by the Ci­pla part­ner­ship, which will fo­cus on de­mand cre­ation,” Boehme said.

Sharadd Jain, Ci­pla Global Ac­cess di­rec­tor of oper­a­tions, said the project will roll out in a few months in places like Pun­jab, Haryana and western Ut­tar Pradesh. While FIND would take care of the de­vel­op­ment of di­ag­nos­tic tools, Ci­pla in­tends to in- crease de­mand for HCV treat­ment through screen­ing pro­grammes and pa­tient ed­u­ca­tion, he said. Ci­pla will lever­age its ‘Aware­ness, Coun­selling and Treat­ment of Hep­ati­tis C’ (ACT-C) pro­gramme for this pur­pose as well, Jain said.

Early de­tec­tion of HCV is dif­fi­cult be­cause the in­fec­tion of­ten does not show symp­toms.

Up to 45% of those in­fected with acute HCV spon­ta­neously clear the virus within six months with­out any treat­ment, while the re­main­ing de­velop chronic HCV in­fec­tion, ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO). “Of those with chronic HCV in­fec­tion, the risk of cir­rho­sis of the liver is 15%-30% within 20 years,” it states.

Ci­pla and FIND have col­lab­o­rated to in­crease ac­cess to screen­ing fa­cil­i­ties and cheaper di­ag­nos­tic tools

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