AMSTERDAM — In this exclusive video from International Liver Congress, John Dillon, MD, from the University of Dundee, Scotland, discusses new pathways of care for patients with hepatitis C, particularly those who inject drugs.
“If we really want to get into the treatment as prevention agenda with hepatitis C, we have to move toward elimination of this disease, we have to have to prevent infections. And the big groups that are driving infection in most countries are now people who inject drugs,” Dillon said. “Opportunities for interacting with those patients are within needle exchanges or within pharmacies, particularly with patients who are on opioid substitution therapy if they were previously injecting heroin or are still injecting heroin and interacting with the pharmacies.”
According to Dillon, many people who inject drugs who are also patients with HCV have difficulty receiving optimal care due to avoiding hospitals in fear of stigma or an inability to travel to tertiary hospitals for treatment. Results of a study in which Dillon partook showed that use of pharmacy services increased the number of patients who inject drugs receiving their HCV therapy, as locations were easily accessed and patients were already traveling to obtain their opioid substitution therapy.
“Many more patients were treated through that pharmacy-delivered pathway, and of course there was security about the delivery of these expensive medications in terms of being dispensed under directly-observed therapy every day,” Dillon said. “So, the payers were even more enthused because the drug was guaranteed to be delivering the benefit by delivering hepatitis C cure.”
Disclosure: Healio.com/Hepatology was unable to determine Dillon’s relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.