Thursday, February 12, 2015

$5M Hepatitis C strategy announced by P.E.I. government

P.E.I. is first province to offer newly-approved treatments with cure rates of 95% to 100%
CBC News
Posted: Feb 12, 2015 11:56 AM AT Last Updated: Feb 12, 2015 11:56 AM AT

A new $5-million hepatitis C management strategy unique to P.E.I. was announced by the province's Health and Wellness Minister Thursday morning.

Health Canada recently approved new treatments that can cure the HCV Hepatitis C genotype 1, which is carried by 70 to 75 per cent of Islanders with the contagious liver disease.

It is also the most difficult genotype to treat.

The new treatments have a cure rate of 95 to 100 per cent, few or no side effects, and a much shorter treatment cycle.

Current medications have a cure rate of up to 70 per cent but they have serious side effects.

"These are lifesaving and life-changing therapies… and I am very pleased that Prince Edward Island will be the first province in Canada to make them available," Health and Wellness Minister Doug Currie said in a news release.
$1.6M invested in each of next 3 years

Currie said the province's small size offers advantages in implementing this type of strategy.

"As a small province, we can closely monitor and assess HCV cases and mobilize and coordinate our provincial health care resources."

The province will work with the Quebec-based pharmaceutical company AbbVie to offer services including referral of patients, assessments, treatment support, education and followup.

Patients will be screened from emergency rooms, addiction services, primary care centres, methadone clinics and corrections facilities.

"This strategy will provide the best treatment available to many Islanders with hepatitis C and prevent further spread and serious complications among those with the disease," said P.E.I. physician and former chief public health officer Dr. Lamont Sweet.

The province will invest $1.6 million in the program in each of the next three years.

Hepatitis C is spread through contact with infected blood.

The P.E.I. government says about 400 Islanders are known to have been infected with the hepatitis C virus and at least 60 are in the advanced stages of the disease.

Dr. Morris Sherman, chairman of the Canadian Liver Foundation, said the province has "stepped up as a role model" and he hopes that "other provinces will soon follow their lead."

No comments:

Post a Comment