VIDEO: HCV elimination requires equitable care for injection drug users
AMSTERDAM — In this exclusive video from International Liver Congress, Jason Grebely, PhD, from the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, reviews strategies discussed at the conference for enhancing prevention and treatment of hepatitis C among people who inject drugs.
“First of all, we really need to improve harm reduction and drug user health and [build] a foundation for that to ensure that people who inject drugs receive equitable access to care without the stigma and without discrimination,” Grebely said.
Presentation highlights include results from the SIMPLIFY study, in which 94% of patients who had injected drugs within 6 months prior to treatment achieved sustained virologic response. Additionally, data were presented that confirmed over 60% of countries in Europe have reimbursement restrictions based on fibrosis stage greater than F2, just under 20% have restrictions based on drug and alcohol use, and 94% have restrictions in which only specialists can prescribe treatment.
“So, one of the key take homes there is that we really need to work toward removing some of these restrictions if we’re going to achieve HCV elimination,” Grebely said. “It’s going to take the community, it’s going to take researchers, it’s going to take practitioners, policy-makers and the pharmaceutical industry to work together to come up with productive solutions to address hepatitis C if we’re going to eliminate it by 2030 as a global health burden.”
Disclosure: Grebely reports he is a consultant and advisor for and has received research grants from AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Cepheid, Gilead Sciences and Merck.