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.