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Hepatitis C

State Medicaid Programs Should Cover Hepatitis C Treatment, Federal Agency Says

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services last week issued a letter to state Medicaid programs stating that they are expected to cover new interferon-free antiviral therapies for hepatitis C without undue restrictions, as well as a letter to the pharmaceutical companies that make these drugs asking about purchasing arrangements to ensure wider access.

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Gilead Requests Approval of Sofosbuvir/Velpatasvir Coformulation for All Hepatitis C Genotypes

Gilead Sciences last week requested U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for a single-tablet regimen containing the hepatitis C virus (HCV) polymerase inhibitor sofosbuvir and the next-generation pangenotypic NS5A inhibitor velpatasvir, formerly known as GS-5816. Unlike the widely used sofosbuvir/ledipasvir (Harvoni), the new combination shows potent activity against HCV genotypes 1 through 6.

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EACS 2015: Hepatitis C Incidence Remains Stable Among HIV-Positive Gay Men in Europe

Researchers have seen no decline in new hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections among HIV-positive men who have sex with men in 16 European CASCADE cohorts, according to a poster presented at the 15th European AIDS Conference last week in Barcelona. However, trends seem to differ between various regions of Europe.

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IHRC 2015: Hepatitis C Treatment as Prevention Must Address Concerns of People Who Inject Drugs

While epidemiologists and public health experts are excited about the potential of new hepatitis C drugs to limit onward transmission of the virus among people who inject drugs, some strategies ignore profound barriers to drug users engaging with healthcare and their broader needs. For "treatment as prevention" to be ethical and acceptable to this people who inject drugs, enabling treatment and policy environments need to be created, according to reports at the 24th International Harm Reduction Conference last month in Kuala Lumpur.

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EACS 2015: Sofosbuvir/ Ledipasvir for 8 Weeks Cures Most Hard-to-Treat Hepatitis C in Real Life

Most hepatitis C patients in the GECCO German hepatitis C cohort who were treated with sofosbuvir/ledipasvir (Harvoni) for 8 weeks in a real-world clinical setting achieved sustained virological response, even those who are advised to stay on treatment for 12 weeks due to factors such as liver cirrhosis, prior treatment experience, and high HCV viral load, according to a presentation last week at the 15th European AIDS Conference in Barcelona.

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IHRC 2015: Community-based Drug Projects Provide an Alternative to Compulsory Detention in Asia

A series of pilot projects in China, Indonesia, and Cambodia are showing that non-coercive, community-based drug treatment projects are feasible and more effective than the current approach of many Asian countries, incarceration and compulsory treatment, according to findings presented at the 24th International Harm Reduction Conference last month in Kuala Lumpur and in a report launched at the conference.

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IHRC 2015: Needle Exchanges Must Meet Needs of People Who Inject Steroids and Image-enhancing Drugs

The numbers of people injecting steroids and other image-enhancing drugs has increased significantly in the last decade, and harm reduction services need to develop new skills if they are to help people using these drugs avoid blood-borne viruses, according to presentations at the 24th International Harm Reduction Conference last week in Kuala Lumpur. Surveys in the UK suggest that rates of HIV and viral hepatitis infections are significantly higher among people using these drugs than in the general population.

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IHRC 2015: Why Is Injecting Equipment Reused? Drug Users Do Their Own Research to Find Out

Even in the context of the relatively good access to harm reduction services in Australia, the principle reasons for people who inject drugs to reuse syringes relate to the convenience of services, the stigma of drug use, a fear of repercussions, and other contextual factors, according to a recent study. No participants reported sharing equipment as a choice -- if sterile equipment had been readily available at the time they needed it, they would have preferred to use it.

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IHRC 2015: Harm Reduction Conference Calls for Political Leadership to Reform Drug Policy

The biggest challenges to harm reduction are drug policy and drug laws, Malaysian harm reduction leader Adeeba Kamarulzaman told participants at the 24th International Harm Reduction Conference in Kuala Lumpur last week. Numerous speakers said that punitive and prohibitionist drug policies have restricted access to harm reduction services, contributed to the spread of HIV and hepatitis C, led to unnecessary drug overdoses, encouraged discrimination against drug users, diminished respect for human rights, encouraged the use of compulsory treatment, and resulted in the mass incarceration of people who use drugs.

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