Affordable new treatment tackles all forms of hepatitis C
1 August 2017
The listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme of a new drug to treat all forms of hepatitis C is a step forward in the treatment of the disease, according to state health promotion peak, Hepatitis Victoria.
On World Hepatitis Day (28 July), the Federal Government announced that Epclusa®, a new drug that is 90 per cent effective in curing all six genotypes of hepatitis C within 12 weeks, is now available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme at a cost of $38.30 per month, or $6.30 concession.
The listing will make treatment of hepatitis C more affordable and accessible, and will contribute to boosting the currently low rates of treatment for hepatitis C, which affects around 200,000 Australians, and can progress to cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer – the fastest increasing cause of cancer death in Australia.
Commenting on the announcement, Hepatitis Australia noted that the challenge remained engaging people in care. Hepatitis Victoria CEO, Melanie Eagle, told the ABC's The World Today program that the availability of the new treatment would make it simpler for treating doctors to prescribe, noting that better health education and improved accessibility for some marginalised groups were also needed.