Access to antiviral therapy for hepatitis C infection is restricted in some countries due to the high cost of branded drugs.
Researchers in Australia, where patients can legally import a three-month supply of treatment, studied the efficacy of imported generic antivirals in 419 patients with hepatitis C infection.
Their interim results show that the virus was undetectable in 98% of patients at the end of treatment, and in 96% of patients four weeks after stopping treatment.
The researchers, who reported their findings at the International Liver Congress in April 2016
, said the results are comparable to those seen in phase III trials of branded treatments. They added that improving access to these cheaper generic drugs could therefore have a major impact on hepatitis C treatment around the world.
 Freeman J, Sallie R, Kennedy A et al. High sustained virological response rates using generic direct acting antiviral treatment for hepatitis C, imported into Australia. Presented at The International Liver Congress; 13–17th April 2016; Barcelona, Spain.