August 06, 2013
1 min read

HBV frequently undiagnosed, undertreated in Mexico, South American countries

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Patients with hepatitis B in two South American countries and Mexico often go undiagnosed, are frequently undertreated, and usually rely on government assistance to afford medication, according to a recent report by Decision Resources.

Approximately 60% of 146 surveyed specialists, including gastroenterologists, hepatologists and specialists in infectious disease and internal medicine, indicated an increasing number of patients with newly diagnosed HBV during the previous 2 years. Many doctors also indicated, however, that most HBV cases within Brazil, Argentina and Mexico go undiagnosed, and many diagnosed patients do not receive adequate treatment.

In Argentina and Brazil, government programs have allowed greater access to HBV medication, with full coverage available for the majority of nucleotide analogues. In Mexico, no such programs exist, and patients without government-sponsored health programs pay out-of-pocket for HBV treatment.

The report indicates that 61% to 79% of patients with HBV across the three countries rely on government sponsorship for treatment costs, and that fewer than 25% of those treated with Viread (Gilead) or Baraclude (Bristol-Myers Squibb) pay for treatment via private insurance.

“All of the countries discussed in our report perform health technology assessment (HTA) evaluations to guide decisions on inclusion in government and social security drug formularies, either through national or institutional HTA bodies,” Andreia Ribeiro, PhD, product manager for Decision Resources, said in a press release. “New drugs need to establish not only a strong safety and efficacy profile, but they must also demonstrate value in terms of improved cost-benefit over current therapies to be included in formularies.”