Roche responds to Schering's IDEAL trial results

January 18, 2008

Roche gives perspective on IDEAL results

Following an announcement today from Schering-Plough on the results of the IDEAL trial, which compared three chronic therapies used to treat hepatitis C, Roche made one of its own. Schering said preliminary results from the study showed that patients receiving the peginterferon alfa-2b (PegIntron, Schering-Plough) and ribavirin (Rebetol, Schering-Plough) combination therapy had lower relapse rates than those treated with a combination of peginterferon alfa-2a (Pegasys, Roche) and ribavirin (Copegus, Roche). In addition, Schering said that using a lower dose of PegIntron and Rebetol resulted in similar sustained virologic response as regularly used dose. Roche fired back, calling the trial biased due to a mismatch of ribavirin dosing for both the initial dosage and the ribavirin dose-reduction used for side-effect management. In some cases, the ribavirin dose-reductions in the Pegasys arm were three times greater than for patients in the Peg-Intron arms, Roche claimed. According to Schering, final results of IDEAL will be submitted for peer-reviewed publication.

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