New DAAs offer cure rates of >90%, with minimal side effects and shorter treatment duration.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is one of the most commonly notified diseases in Australia. There are an estimated 230,000 people living with chronic HCV, including 58,000 with moderate to severe liver disease. Treatment for chronic HCV is available, helping patients to 'clear' the virus. New treatments available on the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from 1 March 2016 achieve clearance rates greater than 90%.
New treatments are available on the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS) from 1 March 2016. The treatments available are highly effective direct acting antivirals (DAAs) which offer cure rates of over 90%. They are all oral regimens which have few side effects. Most people will only need 12 weeks of treatment.
GPs and other medical practitioners will be able to prescribe these regimens under the S85 General Schedule in consultation with a specialist. The consultation can be by phone, mail, email or videoconference, but patients do not need to be seen by the specialist. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee has recognised the need to broaden access to treatment to reduce the burden of disease; therefore new DAAs will be available both on the General Schedule ('Section 85') and under the Section 100 (S100) Highly Specialised Drugs (HSD) Program.