New drug for Aussies with hep C on PBS
THOUSANDS of Australians will be able to pop a pill once a day for eight weeks to treat hepatitis C, with a new drug to be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
The drug Maviret is due to be added to the PBS from Wednesday and give the estimated 200,000 Aussies living with the condition access to the drug.
It contains two direct-acting antiviral agents which block the life cycle of the virus in a patient, with doctors saying a patient is "virologically cured" if there are undetectable levels of the virus 12 weeks after completing the treatment.
The move is part of the federal government's $1 billion investment in new direct-acting antiviral treatments to help meet the World Health Organisation target of eliminating the condition by 2030.
"The inclusion of Maviret on the PBS provides a further tool in the strategy to eliminate hepatitis C as a public health threat in Australia, and globally," the Kirby Institute's head of the Viral Hepatitis Clinical Research Program, Professor Gregory Dore, said in a statement.
"For people living with hepatitis C, particularly those who are new to treatment, this new regimen provides another treatment option."
If left untreated the condition can cause cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer.