2 The technology
2.1 Sofosbuvir (Sovaldi, Gilead Sciences) is a uridine nucleotide analogue that inhibits hepatitis C virus (HCV) polymerase, preventing viral replication. Sofosbuvir has a UK marketing authorisation for use 'in combination with other medicinal products for treating chronic hepatitis C in adults'. The recommended dose is 1 daily 400 mg tablet, taken orally. It should be used in combination with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin, or ribavirin only, as stated in the summary of product characteristics. Monotherapy with sofosbuvir is not recommended. The average duration of treatment is 12 or 24 weeks depending on the person's HCV genotype and history of previous treatment with interferon. Combination treatment regimens without peginterferon alfa for people with genotype 1, 4, 5 or 6 HCV infection have not been investigated in phase III studies. According to the summary of product characteristics, treatment regimens without peginterferon alfa should be used for people with genotype 1, 4, 5 or 6 infection only if they are intolerant to or ineligible for peginterferon alfa therapy and are in urgent need of treatment. The summary of product characteristics states that, for all genotypes, consideration should be given to extending the duration of therapy from 12 to 24 weeks, especially for people who have 1 or more factors historically associated with lower response rates to interferon‑based therapies. These include people with advanced liver fibrosis or cirrhosis, high baseline viral concentrations, previous unresponsiveness to peginterferon alfa and ribavirin combination therapy, or a single nucleotide polymorphism without 2 copies of the C allele near their IL28B gene (that is, non‑CC genotype IL28B polymorphism); or for people of African and Caribbean family origin.
2.2 The summary of product characteristics lists the following most common adverse reactions for sofosbuvir plus ribavirin, with or without peginterferon alfa: fatigue, headache, nausea and insomnia. For full details of adverse reactions and contraindications, see the summary of product characteristics.
2.3 The cost of sofosbuvir is £11,660.98 per 28 tablet pack of 400 mg tablets (excluding VAT, 'British national formulary' [BNF] May 2014). The cost of a 12 week course of treatment is £34,982.94 and a 24 week course is £69,965.88 (both excluding VAT), not including the cost for ribavirin and peginterferon alfa. Costs may vary in different settings because of negotiated procurement discounts.