From 1 March 2016 new breakthrough hepatitis C treatments will be available on the PBS:
- sofosbuvir with ledipasvir (Harvoni®)
- sofosbuvir (Sovaldi®)
- daclatasvir (Daklinza®)
- ribavirin (Ibavyr®)
“This is fantastic news for people with bleeding disorders and hepatitis C,” said Gavin Finkelstein, President of Haemophilia Foundation Australia. “They have been waiting so long for access to treatment to cure their hepatitis C. Many have seen their liver disease progressing and were despairing. This decision by the Government will change people’s lives and we would like to congratulate Minister Ley for seeing the process through to make these treatments available and affordable to all Australians with hepatitis C.”
The new treatments have high success rates – usually more than 90% across the entire hep C population:
- Genotypes 1-3 – oral treatment with tablets; no interferon injections
- Genotypes 4 and 6 – sofosbuvir + peg interferon/ribavirin
- Shorter treatment courses – usually 12-24 weeks
- Fewer and usually only minor side-effects
- People with cirrhosis still have relatively high cure rates but need specialist and individualised care and monitoring.
WHAT IF YOU HAVE A BLEEDING DISORDER?
HFA has had initial discussions with the Australian Haemophilia Centre Directors’ Organisation (AHCDO) and hepatitis and HIV/HCV co-infection specialists:
You would need to have a recent liver health assessment before you could be considered for treatment. Don’t wait; if you haven’t already, make your appointment now!
- Don’t know where to start? Ask your Haemophilia Centre for a referral
- Do you have hepatitis C? Make an appointment with your hepatitis or liver clinic to discuss your treatment options
- Do you have HCV/HIV co-infection? Talk to your HIV or infectious diseases specialist about the new treatments. There may be some HIV drug interactions to take into account as well as other factors, and they will work out the best treatment regime for you.
- Do you have more advanced liver disease/cirrhosis? Talk to your hepatitis or HIV specialist about liaising with your Haemophilia Centre in case of complications
- Not ready for treatment? Make sure you still have your liver health checked regularly and stay in touch with your hepatitis clinic about what’s new
- And for comprehensive care, talk to your Haemophilia Centre first and let your Centre know about your liver test results or how your treatment is going to make sure they stay in the loop.