Schering may use waiting list for hepatitis drug

מתוך medicontext.co.il
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Schering-Plough Corp., citing insufficient supplies of its PEG-Intron treatment for chronic hepatitis C, said on Tuesday it may resort to a waiting list for patients seeking the drug.

"The overwhelming response to PEG-Intron and Rebetol combination therapy since its launch has recently led the company to conclude that demand for PEG-Intron would exceed its near-term ability to ensure supply of product in the United States at current new-patient enrollment rates," the company said in a statement.

Schering-Plough said it started what it calls an "access assurance" program in October aimed at tracking how much drug is needed, and that patients would be granted a continued supply.

The waiting list is expected to start for newly enrolled patients in the next 10 days, the company said. Patients on the waiting list would be expected to begin treatment in about 10 to 12 weeks, the company estimates.

Schering-Plough's biotechnology production facility in Ireland is running at full capacity for PEG-Intron and the company is building another biotechnology facility in Singapore for PEG-Intron and other products.

Schering-Plough spokesman Robert Consalvo said 60,000 patients in the United States are enrolled in the access assurance program, so far. This also includes some patients who were receiving treatment before the access assurance program was started in October.

Consalvo said the company is establishing an independent medical board to review urgent requests for PEG-Intron therapy and it is allocating some of its supplies to meet emergencies.

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