Bristol-Myers Squibb, a global pharmaceutical and related healthcare products company, announced the launch of "BARACLUDE" for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus infection in India on Saturday.
The company launched the drug, a breakthrough medicine to fight chronic hepatitis B following its approval by the Drug Controller General of India.
The drug is an oral antiviral therapy specifically designed to block the replication of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in the liver, C M Habibullah, Director Deccan College of Medical Sciences said at a press conference at New Delhi.
Dr Habibullah said chronic hepatitis B infection is a potentially life-threatening disease. More than half a million people worldwide die each year from Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC), and up to 80 per cent of these cancers were caused by chronic hepatitis B, he added.
India has intermediate endemicity for hepatitis B infection with prevalence for chronic infection of 4 per cent. An estimated 36 million were chronically infected with the hepatitis B virus, most of which were established during early childhood.
He said hepatitis B infection was reported to be responsible for 80 per cent of the cases of cirrhosis of the liver and 60 per cent of HCC. It was estimated that 12,750 new cases of HCC were diagnosed in 2001, he added.