New Hep C treatments available under PBS
Two groundbreaking new treatments for chronic hepatitis C (HCV) will now be subsidised through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), the Federal Government announced this week.
Health Minister Tanya Plibersek announced on Tuesday that the Government will provide more than $220 million over five years to subsidise boceprevir (Victrelis) and telaprevir (Incivo), for people aged at least 18-years-old with a certain type of HCV (genotype 1).
“These medicines could double the cure rate and shorten the treatment duration by six months,” Plibersek said.
“These breakthrough medicines represent new hope for patients with hepatitis C.
“In many cases, this virus can progress into life-threatening conditions such as liver failure and liver cancer.”
It is believed the changes will benefit tens of thousands of patients who would have to pay up to $78,000 a year for the medicines without subsided access through the PBS.
It was estimated in 2011 that more than 300,000 Australians had been exposed to the hepatitis C virus and at least 220,000 were living with chronic hepatitis C.
Unlike other types of hepatitis, there is currently no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C and medication is the only way to manage the disease.
ACON CEO Nicholas Parkhill has previously told SX that it was estimated that up to 13 per cent of all people living with HIV may also have Hepatitis C and that co-infection was a serious issue.
“Undiagnosed Hep C in someone with HIV can cause serious damage to the liver,” Parkhill said.
“This can have a negative impact on someone who is co-infected, as the medications used to treat HIV are processed though the liver.”