Hepatitis NSW has welcomed changes to the PBS that improve access to direct acting ant-viral medications that cure hepatitis C
The changes, that came into effect from 1 April, include:
- allowing young people, 12 to 17-year-old, living with hepatitis C access to DAAs funded by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme;
- allowing nurse practitioners to be included as authorised prescribers on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme; and
- removing the requirement for healthcare professionals to provide genotype to the PBS when applying for an authority script.
Since the DAAs became available in Australia in 2016, more than 70,000 Australians have been cured of hepatitis C.
Hepatitis NSW CEO, Steven Drew, said the medications “have offered a revolutionary opportunity” and encouraged people with Hepatitis C to seek treatment, and for people who are concerned they may have the condition to be tested.
“We’ve all led varied and adventurous lives filled with new experiences. It may be that some, or one, of those experiences exposed us to the chance of hepatitis C transmission. The only way to know for sure is to see your GP to get your bloods done and make sure it includes a test for hep C.
“It is not often we get the chance to eliminate a chronic disease, but we have that opportunity now with hepatitis C,” said Mr Drew.
“I encourage anyone who hasn’t yet sought out this medication to explore their treatment options.
“Despite the broader issues currently in the community around the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), now is still a good time to commence treatment and cure for hepatitis C,” said Mr Drew.
People are encouraged to contact the Hepatitis NSW Infoline on 1800 803 990 for more information about the treatment options available or hepatitis generally.