A very welcome Christmas message for our community: Australian Minister for Health Sussan Ley has announced that new breakthrough hepatitis C treatments will be available on the PBS from 1 March 2016.
“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.”
Most of these treatments can be taken orally, with the most common course of treatment being as short as 12 weeks.
“This combination of breakthrough cures has a success rate of more than 90 per cent across the entire hep C patient population and is faster and has fewer side effects than anything currently available,” said Minister Ley.
Listing the new medicines on the PBS will mean that people with hepatitis C will only pay the normal PBS co-payment for these treatments: currently $6.10 for concessional patients and $37.70 for general patients each time the medicines are dispensed by the pharmacy.
“HFA will continue to work with expert health professionals and health services to make sure that people with bleeding disorders can access treatment when needed in a timely manner,” noted Gavin Finkelstein. “For our community members, the message about being proactive with your hepatitis C care is even more important now: look after your liver health, make sure you have had your liver health checked and talk to your hepatitis clinic about your treatment options.”