/Hepatitis C: HAS approves generalized access to treatment
Hepatitis C: Has Approves Generalized Access To Treatment

Hepatitis C: HAS approves generalized access to treatment

Access to effective treatments for all hepatitis C patients received a “favorable” opinion from the High Authority for Health (HAS), an opinion requested by the Minister of Health, made public on December 12.

Marisol Touraine, Minister of Health, announced the establishment of a “Universal access” to these very effective but expensive treatments in May 2016. “Therapeutic progress is now making it possible to cure hepatitis C”, she stressed, adding that the new treatments were “Bearers of hope” for those affected. The final green light for this generalized access to treatment lies with the Minister.

Since the arrival in 2014 of the first of these new anti-hepatitis C treatments, Sovaldi from the Gilead laboratory, more than 30,000 patients have been treated in France out of a total of 230,000 chronic patients, said Ms. Touraine.

Access to treatment for the majority of patients with chronic infection

The HAS, whose opinion was requested by the minister, said on Monday “In favor of scaling up hepatitis C treatment and framework of conditions”, in a press release. The majority of patients with a chronic infection due to the hepatitis C virus (HCV), severe or moderate, can now access these very effective treatments, direct-acting antivirals (DAAs), according to the HAS.

She “Recommends that this possibility now be offered to patients” at less advanced stages (absence of fibrosis or minimal fibrosis of the liver) and “Who do not show symptoms”. These patients had until then been excluded from these very effective treatments because of their high cost, to the chagrin of patient associations and doctors. Left untreated, chronic HCV infection can progress to cirrhosis and cancer.

Lowering the cost of drugs is a prerequisite

The HAS defines the conditions of support: “Inform patients and initiate treatment only on the basis of a shared decision (with him, editor’s note)” by monitoring its efficacy and tolerance. The lower cost of drugs is also a condition.

In addition, the HAS “Confirms its intention to review the hepatitis C screening strategy”. “Indeed, she writes, “The current strategy based on screening for infection in populations at risk is insufficient” because he “There is still a hidden epidemic of HCV infection.” “It is estimated that half of people infected with HCV are unaware of their status”, further notes the HAS which “Will propose recommendations in the long term” for this screening.

Finally, Ms. Touraine declared on December 8 that she had obtained “A significant price drop” citing the prize awarded to the Zepatier – “28,732 euros (before confidential remittances) for a treatment of twelve weeks ”. Or, for this new drug from the MSD laboratory, a price “Almost 38% lower than that of other hepatitis C drugs currently available on the market”.