Sunday, January 6, 2013

Australia-Advocates slam delay in listing hepatitis C drugs

Sid Maher
  • From:The Australian
  • January 07, 201312:00AM

  • TWO drugs that could dramatically improve the treatment outcomes for people infected with hepatitis C are still not listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme despite being approved by the body responsible for assessing them six months ago.
    Hepatitis C advocates believe federal cabinet is holding up the listing of the drugs, which could cost about $50 million a year.

    Hepatitis Australia president Stuart Loveday said the two drugs, Boceprevir and Telaprevir, could "radically improve the chances of cure" of most people with hepatitis C.

    He said despite being approved by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee in July, the drugs were yet to receive approval by cabinet. He said the drugs were the standard of care in 25 other countries.

    "We are concerned about the length of time it is taking simply because we need to halt the rising death toll from hepatitis C," Mr Loveday said.
    He said a failure to list the drugs could ultimately cost the government and the health system much more. Not reducing the number of people with the disease would mean more liver transplants and more people suffering from liver cancer.

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