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MOH, Roche Set Sights on HCV Prevention and Treatment

Nov. 30, 2009

The Ministry of Health, the Chinese Foundation for Hepatitis Prevention and Control (CFHPC), and the health care giant Roche jointly held a press briefing concerning the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in China.
120,000 new cases of HCV were documented in China in in 2008 , a six-fold increase since 2003. According to HCV expert Hui Zhuang, HCV infections are now the fifth most common cause of death in China. At present, there are approximately 38 million HCV carriers in China, or 3% of the population.
Public awareness of HCV is estimated to be as low as 1%, and less than 5% of the population has been tested for HCV. Physicians not specializing in infectious diseases were also found to have a low awareness of the disease: Only 38% order an HCV test as part of regular blood tests, and 85% are not familiar with HCV treatments.
At the press conference, Roche announced that its HCV drugs currently account for 80% of the market share in China. The company's key HCV product, Pegasys (pegylated interferon alfa-2a), is currently marketed in China.