Category Archives: Advocacy

Celebrate World Hepatitis Day with Free Journal Articles

Celebrate World Hepatitis Day with Free Journal ArticlesWorld Hepatitis Day is July 28th. Celebrate it by reading free journal articles!

Free Journal Articles Published by Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Hepatitis C Disease Burden in the United States in the Era of Oral Direct-Acting Antivirals

Immunological aspects of antiviral therapy of chronic hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus infections

Antiviral therapy for chronic hepatitis B viral infection in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Cost-effectiveness of hepatitis C treatment for patients in early stages of liver disease

Screening for hepatitis B virus to prevent viral reactivation — who and when?

Review article: safety and tolerability of direct-acting anti-viral agents in the new era of hepatitis C therapy

Systematic review: current concepts and challenges for the direct-acting antiviral era in hepatitis C cirrhosis

Early events in hepatitis B virus infection: From the cell surface to the nucleus

JSH Guidelines for the Management of Hepatitis C Virus Infection: A 2016 update for genotype 1 and 2

Hepatitis E: an emerging global disease – from discovery towards control and cure

Hepatitis B virus: new therapeutic procedures

Toll-like receptor (tlr)-2 exacerbates murine acute viral hepatitis

Hepatitis C virus-induced myeloid-derived suppressor cells regulate T-cell differentiation and function via the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 pathway

Free Journal Articles Published by The Lancet

Editorial: Towards elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030

*Gastroenterology & Hepatology content from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/subject/code/000059/homepag/world_hepatitis_day.htm?elq_mid=11083&elq_cid=2613383 retrieved on July 28th, 2016.

HCV and HIV Co-Infection – Transmission to Treatment Forum

HCV and HIV Co-Infection - Transmission to Treatment Forum2016 World Hepatitis Day is fast approaching. On July 28th, it will be celebrated and acknowledged around the world with special events. In Vancouver, for example, the Pacific Hepatitis C Network and the Positive Living Society of British Columbia will be hosting a community forum entitled: Hepatitis C and HIV Co-Infection – Transmission to Treatment.

Community Forum: Hepatitis C and HIV Co-Infection – Transmission to Treatment

Hepatitis C and HIV Co-Infection – Transmission to Treatment is the focus of Positive Living BC’s community forum on July 28. This event is free and open to everyone, no RSVP is required. You are invited to drop in to learn about advances in hepatitis C care in Canada, and to meet new people and share your own experiences. Snacks and lunch will be provided. The event will run from 10:30 am to 12 pm.

“The forum will take place at the Carnegie Centre (401 Main St). Dr. Alexandra King, MD, FRCPC, Lu’ma Medical Centre and Suzan Krieger, Access and Assistance Coordinator at Positive Living BC will be presenting. The forum is produced in co-operation with the Pacific Hepatitis C Network.” (Positive Living BC, 2016)

Community Forum’s Details

Date: July 28th

Time: 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Where: Carnegie Centre, 401 Main Street, Vancouver

For more information, please contact Brandon or phone 604-893-2239.

All are Welcome!

World Hepatitis Day

“Did you know? July 28 is World Hepatitis Day. In 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) made World Hepatitis Day one of only 4 official disease-specific world health days, to be celebrated each year on the 28th of July. Millions of people across the world now take part in World Hepatitis Day, to raise awareness about viral hepatitis, and to call for access to treatment, better prevention programs and government action. The theme for World Hepatitis Day Canada 2016 is ‘Know Your Status? Get Tested – Learn Your Options’.” (Positive Living BC, 2016)

Please visit World Hepatitis Day Canada or World Hepatitis Day for more information about the global event. Please visit our blog post, 2016 World Hepatitis Day Events Around British Columbia, for information about World Hepatitis Day events taking place around BC.

Clinical Trials Currently Recruiting Info Updated

Clinical Trials Currently Recruiting Info UpdatedWe are excited to announce that our Clinical Trials Currently Recruiting in Canada page was out of date. We are excited to announce that there are so many new clinical trials in the works for hep C treatments that our recently updated information about recruiting clinical trials needed updating again.

Our Clinical Trials Currently Recruiting in Canada page has been updated with new information about clinical trials recruiting or soon-to-be recruiting across Canada. While updating the page, what stood out was just the sheer volume of trials needing to be added to the list or taken off of the list of clinical trials about to begin.

Wondering about Participating in Clinical Trials?

Those participating in clinical trials must meet certain criteria, and, in addition to taking the drugs, are asked to complete questionnaires and submit blood work and other lab results for research purposes. As well as a commitment to the course of treatment, there is also a time commitment to complete all of the data collection required as a participant in the clinical trial.

For those considering participating in clinical trials, talk with a health care provider you trust about your options. Try to gather as much research as you can, and talk with other people who have also participated in clinical trials.

More Information

Interested in clinical trials? Beyond our Clinical Trials Currently Recruiting in Canada page, there is also addition information about clinical trials on  our Considering Treatment page and our Participating in Clinical Trials page. ClinicalTrials.gov is also a great resource and includes additional information about clinical trials being planned or taking place around the world.

The Hepatitis C Treatment Information Project’s New Address

The Hepatitis C Treatment Information Project's New AddressThe project’s new address is http://www.hepctip.ca/.

Our Hepatitis C Treatment Information Project (Hep C TIP) has changed its website address. If your website or information collection includes information about our Hep C TIP, please update your links. If your website or information collection doesn’t currently include information about our Hepatitis C Treatment Information Project (Hep C TIP), please add it to your website and information directory.

About the Hepatitis C Treatment Information Project (Hep C TIP)

The much longed-for-and-awaited era of new hepatitis C treatment is upon us – and with it an avalanche of information about the wide array of new hep C drugs and hep C drug combinations.

We welcome this information! We know it heralds huge improvements in new treatments that are nearly within reach! And, we at the Pacific Hepatitis C Network want to help make sense of this new and rapidly changing world of hep C treatment.

The Hepatitis C Treatment Information Project is your web-based hepatitis C treatment information toolkit for entering into that world and building your understanding about hep C treatment. This resource contains information and resources about hepatitis C treatment, including:

  • Information about currently approved treatments in BC, Canada, and sometimes in the States as well
  • Information about new and emerging drugs and drug combinations for treating hep C
  • Information about the drug approval process in Canada and BC
  • Resources to help in getting ready for treatment

Contact Us

Please send the Hepatitis C Treatment Information Project any questions, comments or feedback you have that will help make the technical and complex information about hepatitis treatments as accessible as possible.

Also, if you have questions, feedback, or just want to connect, please do so by emailing hepctip@pacfichepc.org! Someone should get back to you within 24 hours on business days.

The Hepatitis C Treatment Information Project (Hep C TIP)'s New Address

Interactive Hep C Treatment Resource

Interactive Hep C Treatment ResourceAn interactive hep C treatment resource, Hepatitis C Treatment OPTIONS: Basic Information for Patients, has been created by Hepatitis Education Canada to prepare folks for what they’ll need to know to have a treatment discussion with a healthcare provider.

The tool works by asking a user to answer 3 multiple-choice questions and then press next. With the answers to the questions, it then lists what treatment options the Canadian Association of the Study of the Liver (CASL) might recommend according to the highest ‘cure’ rates during clinical trials.

The 3 multiple-choice questions asked by the interactive resource are:

  • What is your hepatitis C genotype?
  • Have you ever had hepatitis C treatment?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with cirrhosis?

Before asking these questions, the interactive hep C treatment resource first explains what genotypes, hep C treatments, and liver cirrhosis are with the help of very short videos.

With the answers to the 3 multiple-choice questions, the resource tool then lists the CASL’s top 2015 recommended treatment options. For example, for someone who inputs hep C genotype 1a, treatment experienced, with cirrhosis, the tool lists the treatments Harvoni + Ribavirin (RBV) and Holkira Pak + Ribavirin (RBV) as treatment possibilities. The tool then lists links to more information about the listed treatment options.

The Hepatitis C Treatment OPTIONS: Basic Information for Patients is an easy-to-use, well-designed resource that is mainly intended for those who’ve not yet seen a specialist or don’t have access to one in their area. However, it can be used by anyone! Explore it and learn more about hepatitis C treatments!

Hepatitis Education Canada

Hepatitis Education Canada is a project of Hepatitis Services at the BC Centre for Disease Control with support from the University of British Columbia and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

BC gives $5 million to expand hepatitis C efforts

BC gives $5 million to expand hepatitis C effortsApril 21, 2016 – The St. Paul’s Foundation, in collaboration with the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BCCfE), the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), the Vancouver Coastal Health, and the University of British Columbia, has been given $5 million for a research study on how to reduce new infections of hepatitis C in BC.

The funding will be used to “help those at increased risk of re-infection with hepatitis C, by focusing on engagement with the health system, and it will help to evaluate the health outcomes with our current treatment regimens,” stated Health Minister Terry Lake at the morning announcement in Vancouver.

The research will focus on “individuals in Vancouver who have been successfully cured of hepatitis C, but who have been identified as at increased risk of re-infection. It will also evaluate the impact and outcomes of current hepatitis C treatments, and identify the next steps required to optimize treatment outcomes in B.C.” (BCCfE)

This hepatitis C research funding announcement was made today by the Health Minister Terry Lake and BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BCCfE)’s director Dr. Julio Montaner.

At the announcement, Dr. Mel Krajden, medical lead for hepatitis at the BC Centre for Disease Control, pointed out that “By understanding how to optimize treatment outcomes, we can maximize the individual and societal impact of these very promising therapies.” (BCCfE)

Links to More Information about the Announcement

Information from BCCfE’s press release

The International Liver Congress 2016 Part I

The International Liver Congress 2016 Part IThe International Liver Congress 2016

The International Liver Congress 2016 (#ILC2016), the annual European Association for the Study of the Liver meeting, is taking place this week in Barcelona, Spain. This blog post is a collection of just some of the topics that have already been discussed at The International Liver Congress 2016.

Topics from The International Liver Congress’s Start

Summary: The all-oral combination of sofosbuvir/velpatasvir with GS-9857, a drug in clinical trials, has been found to be safe and effective on patients who have had treatments fail for them. With the treatment, 99% of trial subjects achieved SVR12.

Summary: A discussion about the potential risks and benefits of treating those with late-stage liver disease. Dr Carlos Fernández Carrillo, Liver Unit of Puerta de Hierro-Majadahonda University Hospital, Spain, stated that, “The results of our study clearly show that those patients suffering from very advanced liver disease may not obtain benefit from these treatments.”

Summary: The study shows that those with hep C who had been previously cured of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common form of liver cancer, had a chance of the cancer returning during or after treating their hep C. Researchers say that more study is required.

Summary: Last year the Portuguese government approved treatment for all of their citizens with hep C. 96% of them experienced sustained virologic response.

Abstracts can be found on the ILC 2016 website.

Press Releases by Pharmaceutical Companies from Barcelona

The European Association for the Study of the Liver

Founded in 1966, the European Association for the Study of the Liver is the leading liver association in Europe. Their annual meetings bring together scientific and medical experts from a broad range of fields to discuss their research and findings.

Recent Updates to Patient Support Programs

Recent Updates to Patient Support ProgramsPharmaceutical Company Patient Support Programs

Pharmaceutical companies have financial assistance programs for people undergoing their specific treatments. Two of these assistance programs have been updated to include two new hep C treatments, Technivie and Zepatier. These treatments are available for use in Canada but are not currently covered by PharmaCare.

For more information about these programs, call the numbers provided or talk with your healthcare provider about eligibility requirements.

AbbVie Care
Canadians prescribed Technivie can request to be enrolled in AbbVie Care. The program is designed to provide a wide range of customized services including reimbursement assistance, education, and ongoing disease management support. AbbVie Care will not only support people living with hepatitis C throughout their treatment but healthcare professionals as well. For more information, contact your doctor, nurse, or call the program at: 1-844-471-2273.

Merck Care Program
For those who are prescribed Zepatier, Merck has Merck Care Program. For more information, contact your doctor, nurse, or call the program at: 1-866-872-5773.

A list of all of the pharmaceutical company patient support programs can be found at Pharmaceutical Company Assistance Programs.

Clinical Trials Currently Recruiting in Canada Page Updated

Clinical Trials Currently Recruiting in Canada Page UpdatedWe are excited to announce that our Clinical Trials Currently Recruiting in Canada page was out of date. We are excited to announce that there are so many new clinical trials in the works for hep C that our recently updated information about recruiting clinical trials needed updating again.

Our Clinical Trials Currently Recruiting in Canada page has been updated with new information about clinical trials recruiting or soon-to-be recruiting across Canada.

While updating the page, what stood out, again, was the variety of clinical trials about to begin. The upcoming clinical trials will test different hep C treatments for different hep C genotypes and different types of patients. For example, there is a clinical trial being planned for patients who need their parents or legal guardians to provide written consent as the trial is looking for underage participates. The collection of trials that makes up our Clinical Trials Currently Recruiting in Canada page again makes it seem like an honest-to-goodness cornucopia of clinical trials.

Interested in clinical trials? There is information about clinical trials on our Clinical Trials Currently Recruiting in Canada page, our Considering Treatment page, and our Participating in Clinical Trials page. ClinicalTrials.gov is also a great resource and includes additional information about clinical trials being planned or taking place around the world.

The Price of a Cure

The Price of a CureThe Price of a Cure was written by Daryl Luster. Daryl is a hep C advocate who is PHCN’s president, a member of the Executive Steering Committee for Action Hepatitis Canada, a counselor for the Help-4-Hep helpline, and the administrator of multiple peer support groups. Daryl was cured of hep C in 2010 while participating in a clinical trial.

The Price of a Cure

Since before the new therapies were discovered there was limited access to treatment. Even though as many as 40%-50% of people were attaining SVR/cure with the Interferon and Ribavirin combination, people were not being treated in large numbers. Many waited for new options, hoping for something easier to tolerate with much higher cure rates, but this was not the whole story. There is no question about the difficult side effects that made treating their hep C impossible for some to consider, and many decided not to treat because of what they read and heard from people who did take the perilous leap. Some were told that they did not need to treat because their virus was “not active” and they would die from something else first.

We know this is nonsense now, as we are seeing more people with advanced fibrosis and the consequences of living with HCV over time.

In just a few short years things have changed dramatically. New drug therapies offer a cure for nearly everyone living with chronic hepatitis C. This is an amazing story, and may be one of the most significant discoveries in medicine in decades.

Yet one major theme we have heard since the first entry on the new therapy scene is about cost.

The media has had a field day with the high costs associated with curing people of hep C. We have read and heard about how we will be bankrupted by the high prices, whether part of a public or private payer system. Until recently, less has been reported in the mainstream media about the great benefits of new hep C treatments.

I have chosen personally to focus on the value of curing more people and what the human cost will be if we don’t treat people. Another thing I have spoken and written about is my belief that we will see prices drop in a more competitive market with new drugs coming online.

I remain hopeful that this will happen soon, and will be disappointed if it doesn’t.

I am a believer in the free market, and think that severe regulatory pressure can potentially stifle development or make for more inequity globally, but there are some things that are more important than shareholder profits and free-market ideals. This is one.

In my view, price should not be the greatest determinant in access to care and treatment for any illness, and HCV is no exception. The difficult part is in how we manage, negotiate, and develop policies that assure equitable access.