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Health Ministry in joint effort to produce cheaper Hepatitis C drug

First published in The Malaysian Insider on 13 January 2016.

Cheaper drugs will provide alternative to Hepatitis C patients who now have to spend between US$40,000 and US$80,000 for treatment. - The Malaysian Insider file pic, January 13, 2016.

14 JANUARY 2016 - Five hundred Hepatitis C patients are involved in a clinical study on the effectiveness of a combination of existing drugs.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said: "The clinical study was being conducted by doctors at government and local university hospitals, with the cooperation of Clinical Research Malaysia (CRM) and Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi)."

CRM is a non-profit company under the Health Ministry.

"The ministry believes there are some 450,000 to 500,000 Malaysians having Hepatitis C and the treatment cost for each patient is very high, at about US$40,000 after a discount and reaching US$80,000 without discount," said Dr Subramaniam.

"Such a clinical study is a new opportunity and if we find the drug produced to be effective, then we will have a cheaper alternative from what we currently have."

Dr Subrmaniam was speaking to reporters today after witnesssing the signing of a memorandum of understanding between DNDi and CRM, on a clinical study for a public health approach to Hepatitis C in Malaysia.
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