World Hepatitis Day: 28 July 2012
The European Medicines Agency supports World Hepatitis Day, which is taking place on Saturday 28 July 2012.
World Hepatitis Day is held every year on 28 July to provide international focus for patient groups and people living with hepatitis B and C. It aims to raise awareness and influence change in disease prevention and access to testing and treatment.
The World Hepatitis Alliance first launched World Hepatitis Day in 2008. The Alliance is a non-governmental organisation that represents hepatitis B and hepatitis C patient groups from around the world.
Hepatitis B and C are caused by viruses that infect liver cells. Both diseases can lead to inflammation, scarring and even cancer of the liver if left untreated.
The European Commission has authorised eight medicines for chronic (long-term) hepatitis B and 11 medicines for chronic hepatitis C on the recommendation of the Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP).
The European Commission has also authorised nine medicines for protection against hepatitis B infection for use in the European Union (EU).
Among the medicines for hepatitis C, two medicines in a new class called protease inhibitors were authorised for use in the EU within the last year. These medicines, Incivo (telaprevir) and Victrelis (boceprevir), attack the hepatitis C virus directly, in contrast to older medicines, which work by stimulating the immune system to attack the virus.
The Agency also publishes guidelines for pharmaceutical companies, describing how they should design and carry out studies of medicines for the treatment of hepatitis B and C.