British Columbia Provides Public Coverage For New Hepatitis C Drugs

British Columbia Provides Public Coverage For New Hepatitis C Drugs

shutterstock_149911907 (1)Two new hepatitis C drugs that have proved remarkably effective against the disease are now covered under British Columbia’s public drug plan.

The provincial government recently announced that both Harvoni and Sovaldi are now covered, which will help 1,500 British Columbians with the disease in the first year of coverage alone.

The B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake said in a press release: “These two new drugs can utterly change the lives of people with hepatitis C for the better.”

He added: “These drugs represent a significant advance in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C, and more British Columbians affected by this virus now have significantly better odds of becoming free of the disease.”

According to what the government stated, those who did not receive treatment for hepatitis C, or people who have failed treatment with older drugs, might be eligible to be covered.

These new medications can provide a cure to about 90 percent of HCV patients and are also much easier to take compared to previous HCV medications. However, prior to being offered through the British Columbia medical service, they were prohibitively expensive: a 12-week course of Harvoni costs $67,000. Brody Williams, a Downtown Eastside activist, fought for months to find funding for his treatment through a government agency.

The president of the Pacific Hepatitis C Network’s board, Daryl Luster, said: “This is incredibly welcome news for people living with hepatitis C in B.C. and their families.”

Luster concluded: “As a person who treated with interferon and ribavirin, I know how difficult those older therapies are. The hepatitis C community is excitedly anticipating the change these new game-changing medications will bring to thousands of people living with hepatitis C in British Columbia.”

Read Other Recent News About Hepatitis

In a recent study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, a research team from the Boston Medical Center (BMC) was able to demonstrate that although treatments for Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) are effective, they could be more cost-effective if they are prescribed to specific HCV-infected patient groups. Scientists examined the efficacy of a combined treatment of sofosbuvir and ribavirin specifically for patients with the HCV genotypes 2 and 3.

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Isaura Santos graduated with a BS in Cell and Molecular Biology from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and a MA in Communication, Culture and Information Technologies from University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL). Her professional interests include science communication, public awareness of science and communication of science through entertainment.

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