Conquering C – Going Beyond Cure

Summary of presentations from the Gilead Satellite Symposium, held at the International Liver CongressTM 2015, the 50th Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver, Vienna, Austria, 24th April 2015

Chairperson: Stefan Zeuzem1
Speakers: Nezam H. Afdhal,2 Marc Bourlière,3 Graham Foster,4 Charles Gore,5 Jean-Michel Pawlotsky6

1. J.W. Goethe University Hospital, Frankfurt, Germany
2. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
3. Hôpital Saint Joseph, Marseille, France
4. Queen Mary University of London, London, UK
5. World Hepatitis Alliance, Geneva, Switzerland
6. National Reference Center for Viral Hepatitis B, C and Delta, Hôpital Henri Mondor, Université Paris-Est, Créteil, France

Disclosure: All the authors have been speakers for Gilead Sciences Europe Ltd. Stefan Zeuzem has provided consultancy and participated in speakers’ bureaus for Abbvie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead Sciences, Janssen, and Merck. Nezam H. Afdhal has received research support for hepatitis C virus studies from AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead Sciences, Merck, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals; has been a consultant and/or has participated as an advisory board member for AbbVie, Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Echosens, Gilead Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen, Kadmon Corporation, Ligand, Merck, Springbank Pharmaceuticals, and Sandhill Scientific; holds stock or stock options with Springbank; and is currently the editor of the Journal of Viral Hepatitis . Marc Bourlière has consulted and advised for Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, Roche, AbbVie, Gilead, Janssen, and MSD, and also advised for Vertex. Graham Foster has received funding from AbbVie, Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Boehringer Ingelheim, Gilead Sciences, Merck, Novartis, Roche, Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals, and Tekmira Pharmaceuticals. Charles Gore is currently the President of the World Hepatitis Alliance in Switzerland. Jean-Michel Pawlotsky has received research grants from Gilead Sciences and served as a scientific advisor for Abbvie, Achillion, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead Sciences, Idenix, Janssen, Merck, Novartis, and Roche.
Acknowledgements: Writing assistance was provided by Dr Juliet Bell of apothecom scopemedical Ltd.
Support: The HCV satellite symposium at EASL 2015 was a medical education event. The publication of this review article was funded by Gilead Sciences Europe Ltd., including medical writing assistance. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily of Gilead Sciences Europe Ltd.
Citation: EMJ Hepatol. 2015;3[2]:42-51.

Meeting Summary

Prof Zeuzem opened the symposium by acknowledging that there is a new era in hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment, due to the availability of efficacious treatments that could eradicate the disease. Prof Pawlotsky outlined recent advances in the field of HCV and discussed the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) Recommendations on Treatment of Hepatitis C 2015, which were released at the congress. These recommendations prioritise the available HCV treatments in Europe, from treatment-naïve to treatment-experienced patients and in the context of patients with various stages of HCV disease, and highlight the need to remain vigilant for possible drug–drug interactions (DDIs) between HCV direct-acting antiviral agent (DAA) treatments and regular pharmaceutical medications. Dr Bourlière then described the remaining challenges in HCV relating to treatment of certain patient populations, such as those with advanced disease and specific contraindications. Prof Foster presented the real-life challenges of treating a patient population that can have heterogeneous characteristics and presented the recent outcomes  of nationally implemented programmes for HCV. Mr Charles Gore, a patient advocate, described the  World Health Organization (WHO) policies in HCV and highlighted that government lobbying by  physicians and patients was required to improve awareness and prioritise HCV treatment. Prof Afdhal  then summarised the current impact of HCV on productiveness and patient outcomes, and spoke about  the benefits of patient access programmes in expanding the pool of patients who can be treated along  with the cost implications of the global eradication of HCV. Finally, Prof Zeuzem emphasised how HCV  is currently perceived as a lower global priority compared with other viral diseases and that lobbying will  be required to demonstrate how investments into the treatment of HCV patients would dramatically  reduce the prevalence and long-term costs of the disease.

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