Reported by Lee Shu-Jen from Taipei
According to the MOHW’s plan, the new oral drugs for hepatitis C will be available under the NHI from next year. About 8000 patients are expected to benefit from this new reimbursement policy in the first year. This policy will set a milestone in the history of hepatitis C treatment in Taiwan. The government vows to eradicate hepatitis C by 2030.
Dr Chien Rong-Nan, the President of the Taiwan Association for the Study of the Liver (TASL) and the Deputy Superintendent of the KeeLung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, pointed out that there are about 400,000 patients in need of hepatitis C treatment. To eradicate hepatitis C, the government needs to work in three major directions: prevention, screening and treatment.
The MOHW and the TASL are to collaborate on the “Flagship Program for the National Office for Hepatitis C”. A platform will be created to enhance the communication among the medical professionals, researchers and the government. Dr Chien Rong-Nan will be the convener of this program.
Dr Chien pointed out that hepatitis C treatments cover three areas: to prevent the virus from spreading, to promote the screening, and to provide treatments for every confirmed patient. The government’s targets are to achieve the WHO’s Glasgow Declaration on Hepatitis in 5-8 years and to completely eradicate hepatitis C by 2030.
Regarding the treatment results, a study was conducted based on the data collected from the four branches of the CGMH up to December 6 to compare the two products to be reimbursed by the NHI, it showed a 100% cure rate among the 24 patients using the drug for a 12-week treatment course and a 90% cure rate among the 37 patients using the drug for a 24-week treatment course.
Dr Chien expressed that though it was a small study; however, it somewhat reflected the treatment effectiveness. About 8000 patients will be able to access the public-funded oral drugs for hepatitis C in the first year of the reimbursement. Their treatment results will be closely monitored. In the meantime, studies conducted in other countries show that the cure rate of the new oral drugs can reach over 95%. It is essential for patients to strictly comply with the treatment instructions.
Dr Chien also pointed out that as the treatments are very expensive, the new drugs will not be available for every patient. They are initially provided for patients who have gone through interferon treatment and developed compensatory cirrhosis.
【2016-12-20/ United Evening News】