AbbVie addresses hep C cash flow problems

Viekira Pak

AbbVie Australia has announced the launch of a program to support timely patient access to their Hepatitis C medications VIEKIRA PAK and VIEKIRA PAK-RBV (ombitasvir, paritaprevir, ritonavir tablets; dasabuvir tablets with or without ribavirin) via community pharmacy.

The two therapies are now available on the PBS for the treatment of genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C.1-3.

“AbbVie is acutely aware of the cash-flow pressures that the listing of new hepatitis C antivirals has had on community pharmacy,” says general manager of AbbVie Australia Kirsten O’Doherty.

“This AbbVie Pharmacy Program is the next step in our ongoing partnership with pharmacy. We have
listened and responded with a solution that seeks to reduce the financial burden on many pharmacies, while ensuring patients prescribed VIEKIRA PAK or VIEKIRA PAK-RBV receive access to therapy without delay,” O’Doherty says.

Under the AbbVie Pharmacy Program, which is administered by Sinapse through its PharmaPrograms platform, AbbVie will provide registered pharmacies – known as AbbVie Network Pharmacies – with extended payment terms of up to 120-days, dependent on wholesaler.

The agreement will see these terms passed on to participating pharmacies via wholesalers. Initially, due to the need to hold stock on shelf as part of the program, a limited number of positions in the program are immediately available for community pharmacy.

However, AbbVie says it is committed to a broader access scheme as the second phase of the program commencing in June.

AbbVie Network Pharmacies that agree to hold VIEKIRA PAK and VIEKIRA PAK-RBV stock will be able
to dispense the therapies, receive PBS reimbursement and pay the wholesaler while remaining cashflow positive.

These pharmacies will also have the option of returning VIEKIRA PAK and VIEKIRA PAKRBV
stock to the wholesaler if they are not dispensed within an agreed period.

The National President of the Pharmacy Guild, George Tambassis, applauded AbbVie, Sinapse and their wholesaler partners on the initiative which will enable pharmacies to maximise patient access to Hepatitis C medicines as well as provide counselling to support Quality Use of Medicine outcomes.

“The extended payment terms being offered by AbbVie will significantly reduce the cost and the risk for pharmacies in supplying these expensive medicines,” Tambassis says.

“It is important that pharmacies make sure they are getting the very best payment terms from their wholesaler for these medicines and also to check whether their wholesaler is part of this worthwhile program.”

Prescribers and hepatitis nurses, via an online pharmacy locator, will be able to locate the closest or
most convenient AbbVie Network Pharmacy that has VIEKIRA PAK and VIEKIRA PAK-RBV on shelf.

Additionally, the online tool will allow prescribers, nurses and pharmacists to register patients in the
AbbVie Pharmacy Program and allow patients to nominate a specific Network pharmacy for initial and repeat dispensing.

“It’s important that patients prescribed our antivirals know exactly where to go to have their scripts
filled. This program is another example of the efforts we are taking to support patients in their efforts to eliminate the hepatitis C virus,” O’Doherty says.

Additionally, pharmacies that register for the program will receive educational material to support the counselling of patients prescribed VIEKIRA PAK or VIEKIRA PAK-RBV.

AbbVie will provide payment for the provision of Quality Use of Medicine services when pharmacists dispense the original, as well as second and third prescriptions.

“We recognise that the need to stock and dispense VIEKIRA PAK and VIEKIRA PAK-RBV will be far greater for some pharmacies.

“We hope this program meets the needs of these pharmacies and supports the
appropriate use of our antiviral therapies,” O’Doherty says.

Sigma CEO Mark Hooper welcomed the program, saying “Sigma has a strong commitment to partnering with manufacturers like AbbVie, and its pharmacy customers to ensure efficient and effective access to lifesaving medicines.

“The high cost of some drugs can put additional pressures on community pharmacy so collaboration between manufacturers and wholesalers is key to ensure these pressures are alleviated
and ultimately that patients have access to critical medicines,” he says.

Pharmacies who are interested in registering for the AbbVie Pharmacy Program can contact
PharmaPrograms on 1300 892 566 for more information.


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  1. Margaret Topp

    What an excellent idea, all manufactuers of Hep C drugs should follow suit.

  2. worried

    so are they going to ring the bank and explain non conformance of covenant GP as well?

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