Gilead Science’s Hepatitis B Drug Vemlidy Gets Expanded Insurance Benefits

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Gilead Science Korea announced that its hepatitis B drug Vemlidy (ingredient: tenofovir alafenamide) on Sunday began receiving expanded health insurance coverage for treating patients with decompensated cirrhosis and hepatitis B with hepatocellular carcinoma.


Gilead Science Korea has received expanded reimbursement for Vemlidy for the treatment of patients with decompensated cirrhosis and hepatitis B with hepatocellular carcinoma.


The government expanded the reimbursement standard after amending the detailed recognition standards for medical care benefits for oral treatment of chronic hepatitis B.


While the standards included a phrase that “the oral drug tenofovir alafenamide is not approved for decompensated cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma” during initial treatment, the government removed the phrase in the revision.


Therefore, patients with chronic hepatitis B associated with decompensated cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma may receive a reimbursement prescription for Vemlidy as first-line treatment.


For patients with decompensated cirrhosis, however, the state only grants reimbursement if renal impairment or osteoporosis is present.


“Vemlidy is a drug with an improved safety profile and ease of use compared to tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF). It is intended as a treatment option that can improve the quality of life for hepatitis B patients with co-morbidities,” said Paul Lee, CEO of Gilead Sciences Korea. “We are excited that this reimbursement expansion will help patients with hepatocellular carcinoma and decompensated cirrhosis receive active and effective treatment from Vemlidy.”


Because hepatitis B requires attention and support so patients can receive active diagnosis and treatment, Gilead will continue to make efforts to improve the accessibility of Vemlidy to more patients, Lee added.


Vemlidy is a novel targeted prodrug of tenofovir. With improved plasma stability, it has a differentiated mechanism of action to more efficiently deliver the active ingredient tenofovir to hepatocytes with only 25mg, a much lower dose than the traditional TDF formulation.


It also showed improvement in monitoring kidney function and bone density compared to TDF, and increased convenience by allowing patients to take one pill once a day, regardless of meals.

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