Globally, the chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the leading cause of liver diseases such as liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Chronic hepatitis C virus infection affects around 180 million people worldwide and in North America almost 3 million people were infected by hepatitis C virus, which further led towards liver transplantation. Direct-acting antiviral medicines are widely used for the treatment of hepatitis C virus infection. HCV is a small positive-strand ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus in the Flaviviridae family. Specific nonstructural protein of the hepatitis C virus are targeted by direct-acting antiviral molecules, which result in interruption of viral infection and replication. On the basis of mechanism and therapeutic target, direct-acting antiviral medicines are segmented into four classes. The direct-acting antiviral medicines play a vital role to overcome the impact of hepatitis C virus infection by reducing the reoccurrence of the end-stage liver disease. The WHO also recommends direct-acting antiviral medicines for the treatment of life-threatening hepatitis C virus infection due to their efficacy and effective clearance of hepatitis C virus from the patient.
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New Era of Direct-Acting Antiviral Drugs
The success rate for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus has improved significantly over the past several years due to the introduction of new direct-acting antiviral drugs, which have proven to be more effective than the conventional drugs. The conventional treatment of CHC is basically interferon-based interventions with serious side effects, but direct-acting antiviral drugs show relatively lower side effects, reduce the course of the therapy and also eradicate hepatitis C virus from the blood more much frequently. The recently approved direct-acting antiviral drug, Epclusa tablet, is the combination of sofosbuvir and velpatasvir tablet that has capabilities to treat all the six major hepatitis C genotypes. Whereas, the mechanism of direct-acting antiviral drugs is based on interferon-free treatment.
Factors Driving Direct-acting Antiviral Medicines Market
The global market for direct-acting antiviral medicines is driven by increasing prevalence of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma and advancements in drug modification. Most of the companies are involved in better availability of directly-acting antivirals medicines and strategic collaborations, which are also the driving factors for the direct-acting antiviral medicine market. Growing awareness and improving healthcare outlook in emerging countries have increased the demand for direct-acting antiviral medicine and act as the major driving factor for the direct-acting antiviral medicine market.
Factors Restraining Direct-acting Antiviral Medicines Market
Patent expiration of branded direct-acting antiviral is a prime challenge for the manufacturers, which leads to generic competition. Besides, side effects related to direct-acting antiviral medicines is the major restraints for the global direct-acting antiviral medicines market. In middle-income countries, costly, complex diagnostic and monitoring requirements also act as a barrier to HCV treatment and high cost of drugs can hamper the market growth.
Direct-acting Antiviral Medicines
Some of the commonly used direct-acting antiviral medicines for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus are Epclusa, Zepatier, Daklinza, Technivie , Viekira Pak, Harvoni, and Sovaldi, among others. A significant portion of the market has been covered by Epclusa, Sofosbuvir and Sovaldi due to their efficacy, reduced course time and low cost. They are used to treat hepatitis infected genotypes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 with or without cirrhosis. Moreover, approximately 75% of Americans with HCV have genotype 1, while 20–25% have genotypes 2 or 3. While only a small number of people in the U.S. are infected with genotypes 4, 5, or 6, they remain the predominant strains in the Middle East, Southern Africa, and Asia. Promising revenue growth is considered for the direct-acting antiviral medicines market over the forecast period.
E-commerce Pharmacies Channel Shows Prominent Growth
Hospital pharmacies, drug stores, and retail pharmacies hold a strong position in the global direct-acting antiviral due to the easy availability of prescribed medicines. However, online pharmacies like e-commerce are also increasing the demand for drugs due to the more offers available on the online platform. Growing penetration of Direct-acting Antiviral on the online pharmacies will provide a remarkable growth opportunity for the manufacturers in underdeveloped economies. Further, the growing trend of online pharmacies would flourish the growth of Direct-acting Antiviral.
Regional Market Outlook
Based on geography, the global direct-acting antiviral medicines market is segmented into seven key regions viz. North America, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia-Pacific excluding Japan, Japan, and the Middle East & Africa. North America followed by Europe will continue to dominate the global direct-acting antiviral medicines market in terms of revenue over the forecast period, owing to better reimbursement policy, high awareness and presence of the giant pharmaceutical key players in the region. Furthermore, increasing prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection is higher in the region, which is expected to result in higher demand for direct-acting antiviral medicines over the forecast period. The Asia Pacific excluding Japan region shows significant growth due to the presence of a large number of hepatitis C virus infection cases, availability of direct-acting antiviral medicine in developing countries such as China and India is expected to boost the direct acting antiviral medicine market growth over the forecast period.
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Examples of some of the key players in the global direct-acting antiviral medicines market are Gilead Sciences, Janssen Therapeutics, Division of Janssen Products, AbbVie., Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck & Co., and Vertex Pharmaceuticals, among others. The major pharmaceutical companies are focusing on direct-acting antiviral drugs development, such as AbbVie is developing ABT-530 (an NS5A inhibitor) and ABT-493 (a protease inhibitor), Gilead’s FDC of sofosbuvir and GS-5816 (an NS5A inhibitor) is in phase III. Company-specific access strategies for low- and middle-income countries also create opportunities for the manufacturers.