Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Making Hepatitis C A Rare Disease In The United States

Making Hepatitis C A Rare Disease In The United States
Victor Roy, Dave Chokshi, Stephen Kissler, and Prabhjot Singh

New breakthrough medicines for Hepatitis C present an important choice about setting goals and taking systemic action to achieve public health advances in the United States. Despite appearing to offer cure rates greater than 90 percent, high-priced Hepatitis C drugs have driven treatment rationing since their approval over two years ago. Gaps in the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of Hepatitis C pose significant public health consequences.

Target: A ‘Rare Disease’ By 2025

Multiple indicators could be used to define such a target for Hepatitis C, such as deaths averted, percent treated and/or cured, incidence, or population prevalence. We demonstrate one possible approach, using a model published last November in Health Affairs by Van Nuys and colleagues. With a baseline scenario of using older interferon-based therapies, the model considered three treatment scenarios for Hepatitis C with the newest medicines: treat patients with advanced disease, treat all diagnosed patients regardless of disease stage, or treat 5 percent of diagnosed patients across all disease stages. They found that the option of treating 5 percent of the infected population annually would best balance potential benefits with affordability.

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