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Schering and Roche are taking part in dueling press releases.

Each claiming their solution is better. Either way, they seem to be splitting hairs regarding effectiveness.

There is no clear winner when they keep firing PR salvos back and forth. Who is a patient to believe? How do doctors determine what is best for their patients?

Be sure to stay informed and make as educated a choice as you can.

HEPATITIS C PATIENTS FARE BETTER WITH PEGASYS(R) – STUDY FROM POLAND SHOWS SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE IN EFFICACY BETWEEN LEADING TREATMENTS

WARSAW, Poland, November 15 /PRNewswire/ — Early results from a new study comparing the efficacy of the two leading hepatitis C treatments suggests that patients may increase their chance of a cure by more than 10% if they are treated with PEGASYS(R) and COPEGUS(R) combination therapy. The study, presented today at the 56th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, is one of the first scientifically rigorous research efforts comparing leading treatments to determine which provides the best solution for patients battling hepatitis C [1].

“Patients and the medical community are understandably anxious to have reliable information regarding what treatment is most likely to provide a cure for hepatitis C,” said Dr Andrzej Horban, from Infection Disease Hospital in Warsaw who headed the study. “My colleagues and I wished to undertake a study that would clearly answer this question and use a methodology that would inspire confidence in the results.”

To date, there have been a number of comparative studies undertaken, but few if any, have generated results which reflect best practices in clinical research. In fact, a number of studies promoted to the public have been retrospective analyses of small research efforts that were designed to address different research questions altogether.

More PEGASYS Patients Respond After Only 12 Weeks of Treatment

The study was undertaken in Poland and involved more than 200 people infected with hepatitis C. All patients were assigned to be treated with either PEGASYS combination therapy or Peg Intron(R) combination therapy. After 12 weeks of treatment, 85% of the PEGASYS patients were responding to therapy as compared to only 74% of the Peg Intron patients. Response to therapy at 12 weeks (defined as either a significant drop in viral load or eliminating the virus completely) is typically an excellent indicator that a patient will be cured of the disease upon completing the full course of therapy.

Local Patient Groups Respond with Enthusiasm

Mr Jaroslaw Chojnacki – The chairman of the Prometeusze Community – said: “although we are still awaiting the final results of this study, the patient community is very pleased that this study has been undertaken in Poland. The results of this study can help infected people a lot. If we are convinced that someone’s odds of beating this disease are increased by 10% because they took this drug, it would be important information for us”, he said.

Like many countries in Europe, Poland is actively addressing the potential time bomb that is hepatitis C. Official figures state 1.5% of the population may have the virus. However patient groups and treating doctors believe that the figure is much higher.

Reference:

[1] Berak, H et al. “Randomized, Open Label Trial Comparing efficacy and safety of pegylated interferon alfa 2a vs 2b treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis infected with non 2/3 genetypes – 12 week virological response” Presented at AASLD, 2005.

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