Friday, March 3, 2017

News Recap

Top of the news is an upcoming conference/webinar to be held in Prince George that will examine the question:  “Does care for hepatitis C in rural/remote areas differ from that in urban parts of our province, and if so, how?”  On March 6th (11 am – noon), researchers from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) will try to answer these questions. Núria Chapinal, PhD, an epidemiologist in BCCDC’s Clinical Prevention Services, will share some new calculations made using data from over a million individuals collected by BCCDC since 1990. The webinar will be recorded and made available online! Centre for Disease Control Releasing Report on Hepatitis C Care in Rural/Remote British Columbia

Egypt: For those of you who can afford it and don’t want to wait until 2018 for increased access to treatment in BC and Ontario, Egypt’s Tour’n Cure program offers treatment now for substantially less than what is available to Canadians who do not qualify for PharmaCare. The program provides treatment for foreigners at a total cost of $5,900, including accommodation and airfare. Egypt: Prime Pharma aims to treat 100,000 foreign patients of hepatitis C

Ontario: A Notice from the Executive Officer and FAQs for HCP’s and Patients have now been published on the Ontario Ministry of Health site; here is the link: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/drugs/opdp_eo/eo_communiq.aspx

There are various links to pdf’s that you can click to find out more:  Of great interest to patients is the following from the FAQ for health providers, specifically:

Question: “When will treatment criteria be expanded for all fibrosis scores?”

Answer: “The criteria for coverage of hepatitis C treatments is being expanded in a phased approach. Coverage will be further extended to all patients regardless of severity of disease or genotype within the next 12 months.”

You can access the Ontario Drug Benefit Formulary/Comparative Drug Index Edition 42 Summary of Changes – February 2017  Effective February 28, 2017 here: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/drugs/formulary42/summary_edition42_20170228.pdf   This document explains which new drugs are available for HCV in Ontario and the ODB qualification critera.

BC: We are waiting for March 21, 2017, when we hope that the BC PharmaCare Formulary will be published so we can share that with you.

Good to Know:
People with HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) co-infection who are successfully treated for hepatitis C using interferon-free direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy do not appear to have an increased likelihood of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), according to a study presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2017) this month in Seattle. Are people with HIV and HCV co-infection who are cured of hepatitis C with DAAs at increased risk for liver cancer?

Also, a recent study in the Annals of Hepatology noted a nearly four-fold increased risk of diabetes in patients with underlying chronic HCV, and, disconcertingly, that almost 1/3 of patients required escalation of anti-diabetic therapy during treatment.  So if you have diabetes and are on medications for it and go on DAA treatment, be extra careful!  Effect of Treatment with Direct Acting Antiviral on Glycemic Control in Patients with Diabetes Mellitus and Chronic Hepatitis C

Coming Up Next Week!

HepCBC will have Info booths at the following: