Global specialist HIV company, ViiV Healthcare has announced that a new fixed-dose combination for “treatment-naïve adults” and adolescents with HIV type 1 (HIV-1) will be reimbursed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from tomorrow, 1 December (World AIDS Day).
The new once-daily single tablet, Dovato, contains the two active ingredients used to treat HIV-1 infection, Dolutegravir and Lamivudine. Under the PBS subsidy, Dovato will be used to treat HIV in people above 12 years of age who weigh at least 40 kg and have no known or suspected resistance to either antiretroviral components.
Dolutegravir belongs to a group of antiretroviral medicines called integrase inhibitors (INIs) while Lamivudine is a nucleoside analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI).
National Association of People With HIV Australia (NAPWHA) spokesperson Robert Mitchell said the decision to add Dovato to the PBS marks the next progressive step in tailoring quality care for people with HIV (PWHIV).
“The community welcomes the PBS listing of a new treatment option for PWHIV. The needs of PWHIV have always been important but individual and patient-led care is now more important than ever,” he said.
“Successful management of HIV cannot ignore the importance of maintaining a good quality of life – in Australia, it’s not about just surviving anymore, it’s about thriving. Innovation in treatments responding to the contemporary challenges of PWHIV is always important to our Community.”
Today’s announcement reflects commitments made by the Australian Government in the eighth National HIV Strategy to support medical advances in the treatment of HIV, to improve both short and long-term health outcomes.
Innovative treatment methods remain essential for the PWHIV community, with data from 2017 indicating that 27,545 people are living with HIV in Australia, while roughly 1,000 new cases of HIV are diagnosed each year. The same data also suggests that 72 per cent of PWHIV are concerned about the long-term effects of treatment.
Chair of Medicine at the University of Adelaide Medical School, Professor Mark Boyd, said this week’s announcement marks a significant shift in Australian HIV health-care and management. Professor Boyd also noted the importance of being able to provide medicine that can prevent the need for unnecessary toxicity.
“This is the first generation of people being diagnosed with HIV that will have access to a two-drug regimen – representing a paradigm shift in how HIV is managed in Australia. We know that people who begin HIV treatment early in their infection have better health outcomes than those who begin HIV treatment at a later stage,” he said.
“Today’s PBS announcement is based on evidence from two large clinical trials which show that HIV can be effectively controlled and sustained with two drugs instead of three or more – giving people who are diagnosed with HIV and their clinicians a new option of avoiding additional toxicity and potential drug interactions from a third medicine.”
Dovato is already available in Canada, the United States and Europe, and is expected to drastically reduce additional toxicity in an ageing HIV-positive population.
For more information about Dovato as it becomes more accessible – a link to a PDF leaflet can be found: https://viivhealthcare.com/content/dam/cf-viiv/viiv-healthcare/en_AU/dovato_CMI_au.pdf