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Schering-Plough commends NIH for statement on hepatitis C management

Schering-Plough, which markets Peg-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b) Powder for Injection and Rebetol (ribavirin, USP) Capsules, the first and only pegylated interferon and ribavirin combination therapy approved in the U.S. for treating chronic hepatitis C, has commended the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Conference Panel for its statement on the management of hepatitis C.

Noting that hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver disease in the United States, the most common cause of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, and the chief reason for liver transplantation, the NIH panel said the most effective treatment for chronic hepatitis C is combination therapy with pegylated interferon and ribavirin for a period of up to 48 weeks.

In its consensus statement, the panel provided recommendations as to which hepatitis C patients should be treated, broadening the treatment population, as well as recommendations to patients on how to prevent transmission of the virus.

The panel also commented on the natural history of the disease and the most important areas for future research. The NIH consensus statement is available online at

"The NIH panel has made a significant contribution toward increasing public awareness of the serious health threat that chronic hepatitis C poses in the United States," said Richard W. Zahn, President of Schering Laboratories. "As the market leader, Schering-Plough is committed to continuing development of Peg-Intron for the treatment of hepatitis C, as well as advancing research to discover new therapies and supporting educational programs."

FDA in August 2001 approved Peg-Intron for use in combination therapy with Rebetol for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C in patients with compensated liver disease who have not been previously treated with interferon alpha and are at least 18 years of age.

Peg-Intron is a longer-acting form of Intron A (interferon alfa-2b, recombinant) Injection that uses proprietary PEG technology developed by Enzon Inc. Peg-Intron recombinant interferon alfa-2b, linked to a 12,000 dalton polyethylene glycol (PEG) molecule, is a once-weekly therapy designed to optimize the balance between antiviral activity and elimination half-life.

Posted: June 2002