Latvia to review state compensation for Rigvir anti-cancer drug

Latvia's State Agency of Medicines will review whether the use of Rigvir, a drug advertised as a virotherapeutic anti-cancer medicine, should be on the state list for compensated medicines. Health Minister Anda Čaksa said that other medicines registered prior to the EU membership in 2004 will be re-evaluated too.

Rigvir was developed in the 1960s and 1970s as an anti-cancer drug and registered in the state records a few days prior to Latvia's entry in the EU in 2004. Oncologists were skeptical over the drug's efficiency even back then, reported LTV on February 12.

The matter came into the national limelight as the International Virotherapy Center was set up in 2008 and the drug received heavy advertisement.

Several doctors' organizations say that current research is insufficient to warrant state compensations for Rigvir and for it to remain in the register of medicines, reported LTV. 

"There was, is, and will be research on Rigvir. It is registered according to the rules that were effective at the moment of registration. There was also research prior to the registration, and research is ongoing even now," said Kristīne Jučkoviča, executive director at the Rigvir Holding company. 

"We're also preparing for modern research in order to register [the drug] in Europe," said Jučkoviča.

Nevertheless, the State Agency of Medicines will review Rigvir's status.

Furthermore, Health Minister Anda Čakša has tasked experts to review whether other medicines registered until 2004 should be reassessed. That would mean reevaluating around 2,000 medicines.

"I have tasked the State Agency of Medicines to make an expert group to review the evidence basis for the [drug] registrations up to 2004," said Čakša.

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