Friday, October-28-16

News in Brief

Restricted Reimbursement for DAAs Hinders Progress Towards Global Hepatitis C Eradication Goal
October 27, 2016

There are significant differences in the criteria for reimbursing for direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) for patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) among the provinces in Canada, according to the results of a recent study. Conducted by Alison Marshall, MA, of The Kirby Institute, and colleagues, the study was published in the CMJ Open on October 14, 2016. “We found variability in criteria for reimbursement of HCV direct-acting antivirals by jurisdiction in Canada,” report the researchers. Specifically, reimbursements to patients with fibrosis stage F2 or greater were limited in 85-92% of the territories and provinces, depending on the treatment. Another difference was in who could prescribe the DAAs, with 23-42% of the jurisdictions limiting it to specialists. There were no drug and alcohol use restrictions; and only Quebec listed restrictions for those coinfected with HIV.

Pharmacist Charged for Hepatitis C Drug Fraud
October 27, 2016

Wow:  I wonder, did she do it to help people gain access, or did she do it to make money?  If anyone knows more contact us. A former Clinical Pharmacy Manager at a Walgreens specialty pharmacy pleaded guilty to health care fraud crimes committed between October 2014 and April 2016. Amber Reilly, a Tennessee pharmacist, admitted to falsifying prior authorizations, medical lab reports, and drug test results for at least 51 Hepatitis C patients who were prescribed expensive Hepatitis C drugs Sovaldi, Harvoni, Viekira Pak, and Daklinza. Reilly also admitted to falsifying allergies on prior authorization forms for some patients so that they could receive Harvoni, which is the most expensive Hepatitis C drug.

Over 1 million treated with highly effective hepatitis C medicines
October 27, 2016

High prices–a major barrier to access News release 27 October 2016 | GENEVA – Over one million people in low- and middle-income countries have been treated with a revolutionary new cure for hepatitis C since its introduction two years ago. When Direct Acting Antivirals (DAAs) were first approved for hepatitis C treatment in 2013, there were widespread fears that their high price would put them out of reach for the more than 80 million people with chronic hepatitis C infections worldwide. Thanks to a series of access strategies supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners, a range of low- and middle-income countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Georgia, Indonesia, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Rwanda, Thailand and Ukraine – are beginning to succeed in getting drugs to people who need them. Strategies include competition from generic medicines through licensing agreements, local production and price negotiations.

Transplant experiment relies on hepatitis C-infected kidneys
October 27, 2016

WASHINGTON — Some patients facing a years-long wait for a kidney transplant are jumping ahead in line thanks to a startling experiment: They’re agreeing to an organ almost sure to infect them with hepatitis C. Knowingly transmitting a dangerous virus may sound drastic, but two leading transplant centres are betting the strategy will save lives, if new medications that promise to cure hepatitis C allow use of organs that today go to waste. Pilot studies are underway at the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University to test transplanting kidneys from deceased donors with hepatitis C into recipients who don’t already have that virus. If the research eventually pans out, hundreds more kidneys — and maybe some hearts and lungs, too — could be transplanted every year.

Weighing Longer Lengths of Stay Against Potential Hepatitis C Detection
October 25, 2016

Screening for hepatitis C virus (HCV) means a modestly longer length of stay (LOS) in the emergency department (ED), according to a recent study. Conducted by Douglas A. E. White of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Alameda Health System, Highland Hospital in Oakland, CA, and colleagues, the study was published in PLOS One On October 19, 2016. The researchers found 44,027 unique patients, of whom 45,852 (66%) were treated in the Main ED. “There were 2,864 HCV screening tests completed, of which 272 (9,5%) were antibody positive,” report the researchers.

Scientists uncover why Hepatitis C virus vaccine has been difficult to make
October 24, 2016

Scripps Research Institute La Jolla, CA — Oct. 24, 2016 — Researchers have been trying for decades to develop a vaccine against the globally endemic hepatitis C virus (HCV). Now scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have discovered one reason why success has so far been elusive. Using a sophisticated array of techniques for mapping tiny molecular structures, the TSRI scientists analyzed a lab-made version of a key viral protein, which has been employed in some candidate HCV vaccines to induce the body’s antibody response to the virus. The researchers found that the part of this protein meant as the prime target of the vaccine is surprisingly flexible. Presenting a wide variety of shapes to the immune system, it thus likely elicits a wide variety of antibodies, most of which cannot block viral infection. “Because of that flexibility, using this particular protein in HCV vaccines may not be the best way to go,” said co-senior author TSRI Associate Professor Mansun Law.

AHC Responds to the PHAC Communtiy Action FUND LOI Process
October 24, 2016

As you know, AHC has been closely following the results of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) funding application process, trying to better understand the damage done across our sector. Specifically we completed a member survey 2 weeks ago, and participated in the release of a press statement with CAAN and CAS last week, as well as another news article.

Today the AHC sent a letter to Dr. Gregory Taylor at PHAC, outlining our concerns. The letter can be read here.

We will keep you updated on any response that we may receive. In the meantime, feel free to share this letter anywhere you like. It is on our website and can be linked directly at: bit.ly/2f1zDdT .

Thank you!

Announcement: HepCBC Boycotting Pacific AIDS Network (PAN)
October 23, 2016

October 23, 2016, Vancouver, BC – HepCBC Hepatitis C Education and Prevention Society (HepCBC) has decided to withdraw from further participation with, and support for, Pacific AIDS Network (PAN). HepCBC, in an October 13th letter to PAN, stated that PAN – “due to its very nature, history, culture, and organizational structure – [cannot] speak for, nor advocate on behalf of, people with hepatitis C, particularly those in the majority who are mono-infected.”