Category Archives: Advocacy

Holkira Pak and BC PharmaCare

Holkira Pak and BC PharmaCareThe hepatitis C treatment Holkira Pak was approved for use in Canada in March 2015 and then was later approved for BC PharmaCare coverage in July  2015. Although Holkira Pak is still approved for use in Canada and has an amazingly high cure rate, as of March 23, 2017, BC PharmaCare has decided not to approve new requests for coverage.

For patients whose coverage was approved before March 23, 2017, BC PharmaCare will continue coverage until their current Special Authority expires. For more information about this change, please contact your doctor, nurse, or call the AbbVie Care program at: 1-844-471-2273.

From all of the BC residents who were able to access Holkira Pak and, therefore, may have been cured of the hepatitis C virus, we would like to thank all of the people who work within the hepatitis C approval pipeline who made their recovery possible.

Holkira Pak

Treatment Description: Holkira Pak is a treatment for patients with chronic genotype 1 hep C, including those with cirrhosis. It is an all-pill, short-course, interferon-free treatment that can be taken with or without ribavirin.

  • Ombitasvir / Paritaprevir / Ritonavir +/-
  • Ribavirin

Daily Dose: 4 pills +/- ribavirin pills

Sustained Viral Response (SVR)/”Cure Rate”: 95 – 100% with ribavirin

Usage Warning: Holkira Pak should not be taken with/by the following:

  • Those with moderate to severe liver impairment (Child-Pughs B and C);
  • Ethinyl estradiol-containing medicines (such as some birth control products);
  • Drugs that are sensitive cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A substrates and for which elevated plasma concentrations;
  • Strong CYP2C8 inhibitors and inducers;
  • Moderate or strong inducers of CYP3A;
  • Recreational drugs.

Length of Treatment:

Genotype Previously Treated Cirrhosis Treatment # of Weeks
1a Yes or No No 2 pills once daily + 1 pill twice daily + 1 pill twice daily of RBV* 12
1b Yes or No No 2 pills once daily + 1 pill twice daily 12
1a/1b No Yes 2 pills once daily + 1 pill twice daily + 1 pill twice daily of RBV 12
1a Yes Yes 2 pills once daily + 1 pill twice daily + 1 pill twice daily of RBV 24**
*RBV stands for ribavirin. Holkira Pak with ribavirin is recommended for patients with an unknown genotype 1 subtype or with mixed genotype.
**24 weeks of Holkira Pak + ribavirin is recommended for patients with genotype 1a infection with cirrhosis who previously didn’t respond to pegylated interferon and ribavirin (PR).

Common Side Effects Reported in Clinical Trials:

  • Can’t sleep (insomnia)
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Itchiness
  • Nausea
  • Tiredness

Access to Hep C Treatment in Federal Institutions Webinar

Access to Hep C Treatment in Federal Institutions WebinarThursday, March 23rd at 11am PST,  join CTAC Policy Researcher Amanda Fletcher’s webinar to learn more about the prevalence of hepatitis C in Canada’s federal institutions.*

Hepatitis C impacts between 250,000-300,000 Canadians, among whom at least 44% are undiagnosed and untreated. While the national hep C burden among Canadians is approximately 1%, the prevalence of hep C in correctional institutions is estimated to be between 20 and 40%.

March 23rd CTAC Webinar

This CTAC webinar will focus on issues and recommendations around access to hep C treatment in federal institutions and address questions like: How has treatment, traditionally, been administered? What are the factors behind such a high hep C prevalence rate? What kind of preventative measures can be taken? How have Correctional Service Canada’s drug eligibility restrictions changed, and what does this mean for hep C treatment within the institutional setting?

Learn more about screening; treatment; harm reduction; social determinanents of health (gender, mental health/substance abuse); Correctional Service Canada’s new and less restrictive eligibility requirements around fibrosis scores; and, finally, CTAC’s recommendations for increasing treatment access.

Don’t delay. Register now!

On the day of the event, you will need to log on to the webinar at http://ctac.adobeconnect.com/hepCprison and dial in for the audio toll-free at 877-473-4906 with conference code 4564615148

CTAC

CTAC is an organization that focuses on access to treatment for people living with HIV and HIV/HCV co-infection. Since 1996, they have worked to secure and ensure equitable, affordable and timely access to treatment, care and support for people in Canada living with HIV and HIV/HCV co-infection.
*Content by CTAC

The PHCN’s News in Review Newsletter (13/03/17)

The PHCN's News in Review Newsletter (13/03/17)Welcome to the Pacific Hepatitis C Network (PHCN)‘s Hepatitis C News in Review Newsletter. This is where we review all of the major current issues and events around hepatitis C and hep C treatments. It is an email that includes links to our recent blog posts—including links to blog posts about the BC Ministry of Health announcing that they are now covering additional hepatitis C treatments.

PHCN’S STATEMENT ABOUT THE SUCCESSFUL NEGOTIATIONS FOR 3 NEW HEPATITIS C TREATMENTS

‘No One Left Behind!’

Pacific Hepatitis C Network (PHCN) is very happy to learn that effective March 21, an extensive list of hepatitis C treatments will be available through BC PharmaCare – at far better prices than they previously had been. The high cost of hepatitis C treatment has effectively restricted the numbers of people living with hepatitis C who could access treatment…

BC MINISTRY OF HEALTH COVERS ADDITIONAL HEPATITIS C TREATMENTS

Agreements between the pCPA and Gilead Sciences Canada, Merck Canada, and Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada were reached to provide several hepatitis C drugs at an improved cost:

  • Daklinza (daclatasvir) – new
  • Epclusa (sofosbuvir/velpatasvir) – new
  • Harvoni (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir)
  • Sovaldi (sofosbuvir)
  • Sunvepra (asunaprevir) – new
  • Zepatier (elbasvir/grazoprevir) – new

BC MINISTRY OF HEALTH ANNOUNCES END OF LIVER FIBROSIS F1> TREATMENT REQUIREMENT

PharmaCare announced that starting in 2018-19, they will provide coverage for any British Columbian living with chronic hepatitis C, regardless of the type or severity of their disease.

ONTARIO DRUG BENEFIT PROGRAM FUNDING HEPATITIS C DRUGS

Effective February 28, 2017, the following hepatitis C drug products will be funded under the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) Program for eligible ODB recipients for the treatment of hepatitis C.

• Harvoni (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir)
• Sovaldi (sofosbuvir)
• Epclusa (sofosbuvir/velpatasvir)
• Zepatier (elbasvir/grazoprevir)
• Daklinza (daclatasvir)
• Sunvepra (asunaprevir)
• Ibavyr (ribavirin)

CROI 2017

The Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), an annual preeminent HIV research meeting, was held in Seattle, Washington, February 13-16 this year. CROI gathers scientists researching epidemiology and biology of human retroviruses and associated diseases to discuss their findings. The following blog posts highlight HIV/HCV information that was at the conference.

REFLECTIONS BY PHCN’S PRESIDENT DARYL LUSTER

For more information about the topics in this newsletter, please click on the links, visit PHCN’s Hepatitis C Treatment Information Project, or email us.

CROI 2017 by Lucinda K. Porter, RN

CROI 2017 by Lucinda K. Porter, RNLucinda K. Porter

This is a collection of blog posts written by Lucinda K. Porter, RN, a hepatitis C writer who attended this year’s Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI). The blog posts below highlight hepatitis C studies presented at the conference that stood out to her.

Please scroll down and click on the blog tittles that interest you.

Sampling of CROI 2017 Meeting Highlights Written by Lucinda K. Porter, RN

CROI 2017

The Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), an annual preeminent HIV research meeting, was held in Seattle, Washington, February 13-16 this year. CROI gathers scientists researching epidemiology and biology of human retroviruses and associated diseases to discuss their findings.

More information about the CROI and the studies that were presented there can also be found in our blog post CROI 2017 Hep C Highlights Part I.

“Creating a world free from hepatitis C one step at a time” -Lucinda Porter

CROI 2017 Hep C Highlights Part II

CROI 2017 Hep C (HCV) HighlightsCROI 2017

The Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), an annual preeminent HIV research meeting, was held in Seattle, Washington, February 13-16 this year. CROI gathers scientists researching epidemiology and biology of human retroviruses and associated diseases to discuss their findings.

This blog post is a collection of HIV/HCV highlights that were presented at CROI 2017. Please scroll down and click on the subjects that interest you.

More Interesting CROI 2017 Abstracts about HIV/HCV Coinfection

More information about The Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), or these and other studies can be found in our blog post CROI 2017 Hep C Highlights Part I or on the conference’s website.

CROI 2017 Hep C Highlights Part I

CROI 2017 Hep C Highlights Part ICROI 2017

The Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), an annual preeminent HIV research meeting, was held in Seattle, Washington, February 13-16 this year. CROI gathers scientists researching epidemiology and biology of human retroviruses and associated diseases to discuss their findings.

This blog post is a collection of HIV/HCV highlights that were presented. Please scroll down and click on the subjects that interest you.

Interesting Meeting Abstracts about HIV/HCV Coinfection

More information about The Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), or these and other studies can be found in our blog post CROI 2017 Hep C Highlights Part II or on the conference’s website.

Ontario Drug Benefit Program Funding Hepatitis C Drugs

Ontario Drug Benefit Program Funding Hepatitis C Drugs“The criteria for coverage of hepatitis C treatments is being expanded in a phased approach. Coverage will be further extended to all patients regardless of severity of disease or genotype within the next 12 months.” –Ontario Public Drug Programs

“We look forward to the day that all criteria are lifted and all people living with hep C can access treatment, regardless of disease and genotype.” -Pacific Hepatitis C Network

Reposted from Ontario Public Drug Program Dated February 21, 2017

Effective February 28, 2017, the following hepatitis C drug products will be funded under the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) Program for eligible ODB recipients for the treatment of hepatitis C.

• Harvoni (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir)
• Sovaldi (sofosbuvir)
• Epclusa (sofosbuvir/velpatasvir)
• Zepatier (elbasvir/grazoprevir)
• Daklinza (daclatasvir)
• Sunvepra (asunaprevir)
• Ibavyr (ribavirin)

The above drugs will be listed on the ODB Formulary/Comparative Drug Index (Formulary) as Limited Use (LU) benefits.

Health care providers are advised to refer to the Formulary for information about the specific reimbursement criteria applicable to each of the funded hepatitis C drugs.

The range of funded hepatitis C drug products will enable funding consideration for patients with most of the common or mixed genotypes in Ontario when the specified criteria are met.

The full details of the LU criteria will be also be posted in the February 2017 monthly Formulary update at:

www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/drugs/odbf_eformulary.aspx

For more information, refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for healthcare providers and patients.

Additional Information:
For pharmacies:
Please call ODB Pharmacy Help Desk at: 1-800-668-6641

For all other Health Care Providers and the Public:
Please call ServiceOntario, Infoline at 1-866- 532- 3161 TTY 1-800-387 -5559. In Toronto, TTY 416- 327 -4282

PHCN’s Statement about the Successful Negotiations for 3 New Hepatitis C Treatments

PHCN's Statement about the Successful Negotiations for 3 New Hepatitis C Treatments‘No One Left Behind!’

Pacific Hepatitis C Network (PHCN) is very happy to learn that effective March 21, an extensive list of hepatitis C treatments will be available through BC PharmaCare – at far better prices than they previously had been. The high cost of hepatitis C treatment has effectively restricted the numbers of people living with hepatitis C who could access treatment.

Even with lower prices, those restrictions will remain in place until next year. Come March 2018, those restrictions (requiring a liver fibrosis stage of F2 or greater) will be lifted and hepatitis C treatment will be available to any person living with hepatitis C in BC, “regardless of the type and severity of their disease”.

The Province, via the Ministry of Health, co-led the negotiations for new, affordable prices and we at PHCN are both proud of that fact and sincerely grateful. We hope the same for new, hep C drugs that are currently in development and that improve even more on cure rates, tolerability, length of treatment, and treating more than one HCV genotype.

And with these new developments, our work continues! Now is the time to identify and address the barriers still in place that keep those living with hep C from accessing care and treatment: low levels of primary care provider awareness of hep C and treatments; believes about who deserves treatment and who doesn’t; patient education and outreach to those who were diagnosed years ago but are not engaged in care for their hep C. Stigma can and does underlay many of those barriers and must be addressed.

PHCN applauds the ushering in of the first critical step by BC’s Ministry of Health and we urge continued vigilance and collective planning and action to ensure ’No One Left Behind!’ when it comes to hepatitis C care and treatment in BC.

More information can be found here.

Strategies to Address Reimbursement Restrictions

Strategies to address reimbursement restrictionsClick here to view a recording of the February 6th webinar Strategies to address reimbursement restrictions for Hep C treatment: Lessons from Australia.

In collaboration with CanHepC, CTAC, and The Kirby Institute in Australia, CATIE organized this webinar to look at strategies to address Canada’s current restrictive and inconsistent approach to direct-acting antiviral (DAA) access and the lessons we can learn from the Australian model.

Learn from experts like Alison Marshall and Greg Dore of Australia’s The Kirby Institute; and Helen Tyrell of Hepatitis Australia. Listen to a discussion between Adam Cook of CTAC and Action Hepatitis Canada’s Community Organizer, Zoe Dodd.

 

Treatment Access Webinar February 6th at 12-1:30pm

Treatment Access Webinar February 6th at 12-1:30pmClick here for more information and to register for the webinar on February 6th at 12-1:30pm PST.

In collaboration with CanHepC, CTAC, and the Kirby Institute in Australia, CATIE is organizing a webinar looking at strategies to address Canada’s current restrictive and inconsistent approach to direct-acting antiviral (DAA) access and lessons we can learn from the Australian model.

Register now and learn from experts such as Alison Marshall and Greg Dore of Australia’s The Kirby Institute; and Helen Tyrell of Hepatitis Australia. Engage in discussion with Adam Cook of CTAC and Action Hepatitis Canada; Community Organizer Zoe Dodd.