BC expands medical coverage for those with chronic hepatitis C

Henrietta Strickland
March 14, 2018

Anyone who has chronic hepatitis C in British Columbia will be able to get treatment covered by British Columbia's PharmaCare program under changes announced by the provincial government.

The province also announced that it is adding a new hep C drug to the list of approved treatments under BC PharmaCare. In addition, B.C.'s formulary covers other hepatitis C medications, including Daklinza, Epclusa, Harvoni and Zepatier.

But until now, patients would have to go through their doctors to obtain PharmaCare approval for the drugs.

The B.C. government will now allow anyone living with chronic hepatitis C to access treatment, even in its early stages.

Dix says adding Vosevi to formulary means patients will have multiple treatment options available.

Hepatitis C affects an estimated 73,000 people in the province, according to the press release, and treatment costs range from $45,000 to $100,000 per patient depending on the drug used and the progression of the disease.

Almost a quarter of people who contract hepatitis C are able to clear the virus on their own; however, if left untreated, it is both communicable and can cause cancer and liver failure. The government said risk and harm-reduction practices are strongly encouraged for those who may be at higher risk for reacquiring the virus after successful treatment, including people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men and sex workers. Symptoms may include fatigue, jaundice, abdominal pain and joint pain.

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