Québec reaches a major milestone in the treatment of Hepatitis C - Harvoni and Holkira Pak are now covered by the public drug plan
Jul 24, 2015, 09:34 ET
MONTREAL, July 24, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - The Centre and Association for People Living with Hepatitis C (CAPAHC) welcomes the Québec Ministry of Health and Social Services' decision to add Harvoni (sofosbuvir/ledipasvir) and Holkira Pak (ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir and dasabuvir) to the list of medications that are covered by its public drug plan to treat chronic hepatitis C.
"This is very good news for people struggling with genotype 1 hepatitis C, which is the most frequent type in Québec. Most patients can now be cured in as little as 8 to 12 weeks when treated with Harvoni or Holkira Pak. Both drugs show very high cure rates for hepatitis C, including for those with liver cirrhosis, while significantly reducing side effects compared with the previous generation of treatments," says Dr. Marie-Louise Vachon, microbiologist/infectious disease specialist at the CHU de Québec-Université Laval. "A few years ago, hepatitis C medications were poorly tolerated and required about a year of treatment. We are definitely experiencing a turning point in the treatment of this disease."
Harvoni is the first and only once-daily, single-tablet regimen for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus genotype 1 in adults. Harvoni eliminates interferon and ribavirin, which can be difficult to tolerate, and offers the majority of people a cure in as little as eight weeks of treatment. Holkira Pak is the only hepatitis C treatment to combine three direct-acting antivirals to attack the virus at three separate stages of its replication process.
"For some patients, these new treatments represent the possibility to go back to work or school, break down the social isolation that they are experiencing, or simply get their energy back to achieve their ambitions," says CAPAHC general manager Laurence Mersilian. "We want to congratulate the Government of Québec for seizing the opportunity to make a difference for these people."
The Ministry of Health and Social Services opted for a comprehensive disease management approach that is staged over 6 years. The eligibility criteria for treatment will evolve over time, along with the implementation of various healthcare initiatives to prevent the disease and support patients. The CAPAHC is very pleased with this progressive approach, which takes into consideration the community's involvement as a key element for success to cure hepatitis C.
In addition to improving the quality of life for people who are treated and cured, more effective hepatitis C treatment options can produce positive impacts for the Québec health system. A better management of the disease has the potential to reduce the number of hospitalizations, the number of liver transplants, and the multiple complications related to the disease, including death. In Québec, it is estimated that there are 50,000 patients living with chronic hepatitis C.
Founded in 2003, CAPAHC provides support to people infected or affected by Hepatitis C, people co-infected with HIV/HCV, and their loved ones. It promotes overall health through prevention and understanding of the hepatitis C virus and other related illnesses to its community without discrimination. CAPAHC also designs and implements information, awareness and educational programs.
SOURCE Centre and Association for People Living with Hepatitis C (CAPAHC)
For further information: Laurence Mersilian, General Manager, 514-521-0444, [email protected]
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