Saturday, June 28, 2014

Future Therapies for HCV: The Importance of New Treatment Paradigms and Interferon-free Regimens

Future Therapies for CHC: The Importance of New Treatment Paradigms and Interferon-free Regimens

Good afternoon folks, its time to catch up on what you missed with another edition of Weekend Reading.

Today we have a documentary exploring the high cost of HCV treatment in the UK (BAD BLOOD), a bit of news, and a must watch learning activity released last month by ViralEd. The latter; Improving the Care Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C Online Program will focus on guidelines, diagnosis, and new all oral treatments for hepatitis C.  Although the CME is for healthcare professionals, the patient will benefit greatly by viewing all three narrated presentations. The activity is easy on the ears, and even easier to follow, especially because the CME is presented in a video and slide format. However, if the program is consuming too much of your Saturday, and the family is waiting in the wings for some weekend action, skip to the last presentation - you won't be disappointed.

Each teaching module is hosted by a different CHC specialist; Mark Sulkowski, MD., Professor of Medicine, and Medical Director of Viral Hepatitis Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, will host 1) Current Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Patients with HCV Infection; K. Rajender Reddy, MD., Professor of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, presents 2) Overcoming Host and Viral Barriers to Successful Hepatitis C Therapy; and finally Nezam H. Afdhal, MD., Professor of Medicine, Harvard School of Medicine, and Chief of Hepatology, Director of Liver Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, will end with 3) Future Therapies for CHC: The Importance of New Treatment Paradigms and Interferon-free Regimens.

After viewing each module a link is provided for anyone interested in receiving a CME credit. Finally, a menu offering all three modules will once again appear allowing us to continue. 

Just like any CME a quick free registration is required, click here to register. Enter your name, email address, and degree. If you are not a physician or nurse, type in My Degree, it worked for me.

Topic Highlights

Patient Case
Baby Boomers
Revised Screening
Who Should Be Tested
Staging Disease
Morbidity and Mortality Predictions
Cure and Outcome
FDA Approved Drugs

Patient Case 
Undiagnosed HCV
Evolution Of HCV Treatment
Drug To Drug Interactions
Side Effects
Current Treatments
Regimens (Genotype)
SVR - Cirrhosis
 Treating Patients With Advanced Liver Disease
Sofosbuvir - Decompensated Liver Disease

HCV - Past, Present, and Future
Patient Case
Ledipasvir  - Sofosbuvir
And MORE.......

Begin here 



Published on Jun 26, 2014 

A documentary exploring the treatment of Hepatitis C in the UK


New From Healio  

NICE seeks information from Gilead regarding cost-effectiveness of Sovaldi 

 The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in the UK is requesting Gilead Sciences to provide more information on sofosbuvir to determine if it is cost effective to treat hepatitis C virus, according to a press release.

The antiviral oral drug sofosbuvir (Sovaldi) currently has marketing authorization in the UK for use in combination with other drugs for treating hepatitis C virus (HCV).
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) request is included in draft guidance on the drug, which is available for public consultation. Comments on the draft will be accepted until July 4, according to the release.

In the draft, the NICE committee does not recommend sofosbuvir within its marketing authorization for treating chronic HCV in adults. It also requests further analyses from Gilead for sofosbuvir in combination with ribavirin, with or without pegylated interferon-alfa vs. peginterferon-alfa and ribavirin in patients with HCV genotypes 1 and 3, regarding revised analyses to cost-effectiveness for patients with and without cirrhosis, HIV coinfection, along with patients’ treatment history. Sensitivity analyses that address any incremental cost-effectiveness ratios also are sought, the release said.

“Poor diagnosis rates, combined with a high number of new infections annually means that chronic hepatitis C presents a major public health challenge,” Carole Longson, PhD, director of the NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said in the release. “The available evidence shows that sofosbuvir is an effective treatment for chronic hepatitis C in certain patients. However, evidence is lacking for some subgroups of patients with chronic hepatitis C, and there are also substantial uncertainties in the evidence base presented by the manufacturer. The committee has therefore requested further information from the manufacturer before it can decide whether sofosbuvir is a cost-effective use of [National Health Service] resources.”

According to the release, approximately 160,000 people are infected with HCV in England, and a majority have genotypes 1 (46%) and 3 (43%).

 Heads Up In Canada 

SOVALDI (sofosbuvir) WEBINAR July 3, noon (PST) with Dr. Alnoor Ramji

HepCBC is co-hosting a Webinar with the Pacific Hepatitis C Network on July 3rd at noon Pacific time. Dr. Alnoor Ramji will present the most accurate and most current information about SOVALDI (sofosbuvir), and will be available to answer your questions. Registration information will be available at this website soon. Stay tuned!

HepCBC is asking everyone’s help in approving all the new hepatitis drugs for coverage by BC PharmaCare. Between now and July 10th, you can contribute your voice to HepCBC’s Patient Group SOVALDI (sofosbuvir) submission:

You can also find the forms for individual patient and caregiver submissions at Deadline for these submissions is midnight, July 11th.

In Today's News

Health insurer Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield asks state for 12.5% rate hike

By SUSAN HAIGH Associated Press

Michael Bears, Anthem's vice president of actuary, spelled out a number of reasons for the proposed rate increase. The list included higher costs for medical services and pharmaceuticals, especially drugs for treating Hepatitis C, and fees levied by the federal government as part of the Affordable Care Act. 

Hartford - Consumers and advocates urged state insurance regulators on Friday to deny a 12.5 percent rate increase proposed by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Connecticut's largest health insurer.

The proposed rate increase for individual plans, beginning
Jan. 1, would affect nearly 66,200 policyholders, including some who recently purchased their policies through the state's health insurance exchange, Access Health CT.

"Anthem is only one insurer asking for a rate increase, but it is an insurer that enjoys a large share of the Connecticut market," Jill Zorn, senior program officer for the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, told the Department of Insurance hearing officer reviewing the rate request. "We urge you to sharpen your pencils and carefully review all input in this rate review hearing, most especially the comments of policyholders who could not be here today."

Zorn said the state owes it to the state's policyholders "not to just rubber stamp Anthem's request to raise premiums."

Anthem was the only established Connecticut insurance company that offered both individual and small group health care plans in the state's health insurance exchange during the recent open enrollment period. It is providing coverage to the bulk of the customers who signed up for private coverage on the exchange.

With its rate increase proposal, Anthem contends it is attempting to strike a balance between being competitive price-wise and remaining solvent and financially stable.

Michael Bears, Anthem's vice president of actuary, spelled out a number of reasons for the proposed rate increase. The list included higher costs for medical services and pharmaceuticals, especially drugs for treating Hepatitis C, and fees levied by the federal government as part of the Affordable Care Act.

The hearing officer, Paul Lombardo, asked Bears to provide the agency with additional information to justify the proposed rate increase. A final decision on Anthem's rate filing will be made within 30 days after the record of Friday's proceeding is closed. The decision will be posted on the Department of Insurance website.

Besides concerns about the size of the proposed rate increase, some members of the public brought up issues with Anthem's handling of its policies sold on the state's health insurance exchange.

Arvind Shaw, CEO of the Generations Family Health Center in Willimantic, said Anthem has been slow in reimbursing for services. He said his agency is owed about $43,000 but has been paid about $290 to date. Additionally, Shaw said some of his clients' prescription drug claims were erroneously denied.

"I am very concerned for the safety and care of these patients," Shaw said.

Bloggers Corner

Hepatitis C and Vultures 
Lucinda Porter RN 

 Take action and support the Viral Hepatitis Testing Act. Fortify your liver with good food, sleep, exercise, and humor. Don’t drink. If you can’t stop, get help. Get support..
Continue reading...   

Healthy You

Liver Health News and Research
A collection of  latest research, news and health tips about viral hepatitis and liver health.

Enjoy the program, and this lovely weekend.

Always Tina


  1. With the new emphasis on getting people tested for HCV, I keep wondering who is going to treat all these people. As it is now, it takes months to get in to see a specialist and then they still want to treat with Interferon. My guess is PCP's will have to take up the slack but the ones I've talked with know next to nothing about the disease.

  2. Hi Rubye! I agree, just another reason for us to be diligent health advocates, and carefully scrutinize our own medical care. As you know its very important to find a health practitioner who is in the field of gastroenterology and hepatology A hepatologist is far more likely to be on top of the latest information concerning the treatment of hepatitis C. With that said people may decide to be treated by their GP, hopefully they will consider using their primary care physician as a source of referral to a specialist. As they say; all we ever do is hurry up and wait....
    Stay well