HFA welcomes the recommendation of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) to add Viekira PAK® to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C genotype 1.
The outcome of the simeprevir/sofosbuvir combination treatment for hepatitis C, also before the PBAC, is waiting on Therapeutic Goods Administration approval.
GREAT NEED FOR EFFECTIVE NEW TREATMENTS
The PBAC said that all the approved new treatments for hepatitis C are very effective - both Viekira PAK® and the other hepatitis C treatments approved March 2015 - and that there is a high clinical need for all-oral interferon-free hepatitis C treatments to be made available on the PBS.
They were satisfied that Viekira PAK® (paritaprevir with ritonavir, ombitasvir, and dasabuvir, with or without ribavirin) would be another option for treating genotype 1 – as effective as treatment with Harvoni® (Ledipasvir with sofosbuvir).
However, the PBAC did not accept the proposed treatment prices.
There are now four new hepatitis C treatment combinations that have been approved by the PBAC and none are available yet on the PBS. These treatments are already available in many other countries.
"Access to these treatments is critical for Australians with hepatitis C. My community members with bleeding disorders and hepatitis C have been waiting for these treatments for too long. Every delay puts their health and their lives more at risk," says Gavin Finkelstein, HFA President, today. “Government funding is needed urgently to list these medicines on the PBS. These treatments can cure hepatitis C – and if they are not on the PBS, these treatments are just not affordable for most Australians with hepatitis C.”
The next step in the process is for the Australian government to consider the PBAC recommendations and make decisions about funding. We hope the cost of these drugs can be negotiated successfully with the pharmaceutical companies without delay.
AND IF YOU HAVE HEP C?
In the meantime - if you have hepatitis C and a bleeding disorder, remember that you would need to have your liver health assessed before you could be considered for treatment:
- Make sure you have your liver health checked regularly
- If you don’t know where to start, ask your Haemophilia Centre for a referral
- Stay in touch with your hepatitis clinic about what’s new
- Don’t forget to go to your appointment with the hepatitis clinic after your liver health check, even if the fibroscan shows your liver health is stable at the moment
- And for comprehensive care, let your Haemophilia Centre know about your liver test results or how your treatment is going to make sure they stay in the loop.