Pharmacies key in massive Hep C drug takeup

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Community pharmacies across Australia have played a significant role in the outstanding progress made in the treatment of Australians with hepatitis C since the listing of new medicines in March this year, says the Guild.

The much larger than expected uptake of the high cost medicines, primarily through community pharmacies, has led to predictions on this World Hepatitis Day that the disease could be eradicated in Australia within a generation.

At more than 22,000 patients since March this year, the uptake is the fastest seen anywhere in the world.

“This is a tribute to our Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme – and to its custodians – the 5500 community pharmacies across Australia who always have patient care as their main priority,” says the Guild’s National President, George Tambassis.

“The widespread network of community pharmacies have facilitated timely and equitable access to these vital medicines.”

Community pharmacies and others in the medicine supply chain have worked with the Department of Health and Hepatitis Australia to address a number of issues around the distribution of such large volumes of very high cost medicines, the Guild says.

These issues are new and currently unique to the high cost hep C medicines, and were not foreseen when the existing PBS arrangements were put in place.

“While we continue to work with the Government on those issues, we are extremely proud that community pharmacies have played such a pivotal role in delivering this excellent health outcome,” Tambassis says.

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