Effective from today (1 June) Nurse Practitioners are able to prescribe the new direct-acting antiviral (DAA) medicines for the treatment and cure of hepatitis C. Hepatitis Australia and others in the sector have previously called for prescribing limitations to be relaxed to support improved access for all people living with hepatitis C and to support progress toward the elimination of hepatitis C.
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme has updated its consumer fact sheet to say:
“For the PBS subsidy, where state or territory requirements allow, all medical practitioners, including general practitioners (GPs), and authorised nurse practitioners, experienced in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C infection, are eligible to prescribe the new medicines”
The information goes on to clarify that all other practitioners and authorised nurse practitioners can also prescribe the DAA medicines as long as this is in consultation with an appropriate specialist.
The increase in those eligible to prescribe the DAAs is timely with new pan-genotypic DAA medicines just around the corner. These additional new medicines will simplify prescribing even further with the medicines being highly effective across all hepatitis C genotypes. They also increase the number of options that do not include pegylated-interferon, a medicine that has often deterred people from commencing treatment.
To see the updated PBS Consumer Fact Sheet and other fact sheets regarding hepatitis C treatment go to http://www.pbs.gov.au/info/publication/factsheets/hep-c/hepc-factsheet-consumers-what-is-hep-c