HCV patients need access now to new direct-acting antiviral agents to avert liver-related deaths

A letter titled ‘HCV infected patients need access now to new direct-acting antiviral agents to avert liver-related deaths’ appears in the latest edition of the Medical Journal of Australia published 18 May 2015.

The letter outlines how the authors “used a modelling approach to describe how the burden of infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and the associated health care costs in Australia will increase as the infected population ages. This showed that increasing the efficacy of antiviral therapy and the number of patients treated could avert the expected increase in deaths from HCV-related liver disease and in the number of patients with end stage HCV-related liver disease.”

Hepatitis Australia and our Members continue to stress the new hepatitis C medicines must be made available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) as soon as possible to address the clinical, social and psychological impact of hepatitis C in Australia and start us on the path to eliminating this potentially life-threatening chronic disease. 

Hepatitis Australia does not support limiting access to the new hepatitis C medicines to people with advanced liver disease. Equal treatment access remains our very firm recommendation and Hepatitis Australia was pleased that at their March 2015 meeting The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) listened to and recorded our position and subsequently did not go down the path of recommending to government limiting access to the new hepatitis C treatments based on disease stage.

Collectively the hepatitis C community sector continues to call on the government and the Pharmaceutical companies to complete their negotiations and approval processes quickly and provide a date for the PBS listing of the new hepatitis C medicines, which are already available in other countries.  

The full letter is only accessible to people who subscribe to the Medical Journal of Australia. If you do subscribe you can view the full letter here. >