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Hepatitis C drugs not being accessed

Hundreds of thousands of Australians with hepatitis C are failing to access new curative drugs, despite the Government subsidising them at huge cost to the taxpayer.

The trend means the Government is at risk of missing its target to eradicate hepatitis C and of spending far more than necessary on the treatments.

Hepatitis Australia said fewer than half as many people were accessing the direct acting antivirals as they were immediately after they were first listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) in March 2016.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-12/hep-c-drugs-ignored-by-thousands-of-australians-with-the-disease/9421472

Comments(2)

  1. REPLY
    Geoff Ward says

    The initial response was the pent-up demand from HCV + people who were aware of the paradigm shift that direct-acting antivirals (DAA’s) created and were simply awaiting regulatory approval and PBS listings. However, given that the overwhelming number of transmissions were caused by sharing injecting equipment there is a significant number of people who are not quite so enthusiastic or even negatively disposed to the idea of treatment and the reasons are many and varied. The “war on people who use drugs” has been in operation for over 5 decades and the relentless impact of criminalising drug use has resulted in a myriad of damage and harms. Many PWID’s do not trust doctors or AOD services as a consequence of being victims of stigma, discrimination and marginalisation. Whilst doing CAHMA Outreach I have been surprised by how many people still believe that the side-effects from DAA’s are not much better than the old interferon-based treatments and that the process is long and bureaucratic requiring attendance at Liver Clinics. The collaborative work we have done with HepatitisACT produced “How to get on treatment” instructions for clients and GP’s which helped to allay some of these myths.

    Then there are people who are difficult to access at all as they prefer to avoid dealing with ‘authority’. Many would have no idea of their HCV status let alone their genotype. There has to be more investment in peer-based and community-based services that can do the hard graft of finding and then earning the trust of these HCV+ Australians.

  2. REPLY
    Helen Blacklaws says

    The Boomers! I believe there are a lot of 50+ people out there who are not aware they have HCV. Maybe they were told ‘non A non B’ and thought they didn’t have anything, or have forgotten about a long ago Dx. Because hep C is largely asymptomatic, people either think it’s gone away, or isn’t important. There has been a significant increase in people presenting for their first visit who have already developed cirrhosis. Hep C is a stigmatised condition, many are embarrassed about seeking treatment. We need a public health campaign. The current issue is not lack of prescribers, it’s lack of patients

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