Tahlequah, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation has screened 23,000 Native American patients for hepatitis C, a year after becoming the first tribe in the nation to launch a hepatitis C elimination project with assistance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Last fall, the Cherokee Nation announced its study, Optimizing Care and Setting a Path Towards Elimination of Disease and Disparity, with researchers to prevent and treat the virus.
Cherokee Nation Health Services department partnered with CDC, the Oklahoma Department of Health and the University of Oklahoma to help research and track results. The Gilead Foundation donated $1.5 million to help with screening kits and research.
Here we are in the fall and only days away from the election—finally! Anyway, this issue of the HCV Advocate newsletter is, in my opinion, one of our best. I hope you think so too!
Please find the following articles:
HealthWise – Talking to Your Doctor About Hepatitis C Treatment, Getting What’s Best for Youby Lucinda K. Porter, RN — Lucinda discusses the importance of working with your doctor, how to fight insurance denials, helpful resources, and other important information.
HCV Drugs by Alan Franciscus — I discuss two studies—the first one is about Gilead’s salvage therapy to treat the small percentage of people who do not respond to the current standard of care. The second study is an AbbVie study that treated HCV genotype 1b patients for 8 weeks that resulted in very high cure rates.
Snapshotsby Alan Franciscus — I reviewed two studies: The first one is a study conducted in the Veterans Affairs National Health Care System that evaluated all of the current (at that time) direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) medications to understand the cure rates and the ‘real-world’ results vs. results from the clinical trials.
HCV Drug PipelineOur Drug Pipeline has been updated with the information about the Gilead data from this month’s newsletter.
Check out our new Easy C fact sheet on the importance of testing for hepatitis B before initiating HCV direct-acting antiviral therapy.
We have also added many resources to our Trainers page including 2 slide sets—a short presentation and the longer that one we include in our Train-the-Trainer workshops. We also have a list of resources.
Don’t forget to join us for coverage of the Liver Meeting. We will be covering it on our News and Pipeline blog and in the December 2016 and January 2017 HCV Advocate Newsletter.
Note: Thanks to Mindy for forwarding this news item – Alan
Alternative forms of two genes are associated with a boost in immunity to hepatitis C after childbirth, a study led by a Nationwide Children’s Hospital physician-researcher shows.
At three months postpartum, the number of viruses circulating in the blood declined sharply in most women who carried particular versions of IFNL3 and HLA-DPB1 genes. Mothers lacking these gene variants experienced little change in viral levels after delivery.
The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study focused on hepatitis C, but it may serve as a model for identifying factors that restore immunity to other chronic infections, the researchers suggest.
With prescription drug prices rising rapidly, Americans plead with lawmakers for help as manufacturers brace for a fight
The skyrocketing premiums a majority of Americans face for their health insurance in 2017, along with a diminishing choice of care, are dominating headlines — and rightly so. Yet access to the prescription drugs we need and the prices we pay for them are perhaps of most concern.
“Almost every pharmacist in the country has seen customers who have to choose between medication and food,” said Santo J. Leo, CEO of MailMyPrescriptions.com in Boca Raton, Florida. “Pharmacies aren’t allowed, legally, to help these people pay for their medications because it’s considered a kickback. We need some real reforms to the system ASAP.”
(BEDFORD) – The Lawrence County needle exchange program is now aiming for a December 1 start date, as opposed to November 1.
Sherry Lawson, Lawrence County Health Department public health nurse, says that the reason for the later start date is due to training local law enforcement officers so they are aware of legal protections provided to those who have received services from a needle exchange program.
On Friday, the Indiana State Department of Health declared a public health emergency for Lawrence County in October, allowing the county’s health department to establish a needle-exchange program in an effort to reduce the spread of hepatitis C.
Recently I went on a first date — a stroll in a city park — that went rather well. We had so much in common, from a love of reading to a history of youthful troublemaking. If I wasn’t convinced already he was someone I could relate to, my new friend shared that he’d been cured of Hepatitis C.
I could hardly believe it. Instead of having to awkwardly explain my medical history, I’d met someone who shares it. It was a first. The only other time I’d met people who’d been cured of Hepatitis C, I was at an event at Johns Hopkins celebrating the first 1,000 successes of the new drugs. Some of my fellow drug program participants had gotten it from blood transfusions, some from vaccinations in the military. Some had no idea how.
In any case, our unicorn status can’t go on much longer. According to the director of the Centers for Disease Control, who spoke that day, one in 30 baby boomers has Hepatitis C. Forty percent of those people will die of the virus, at an average age of 59.
Note: this story also includes an audio story – Alan
The Los Angeles Department of Health Services will start approving hepatitis C drugs for active IV drug users, the department’s chief medical officer has told KPCC. Until now, the department had withheld approval for anyone who had not been drug-free for at least six months.
The policy change comes after KPCC reported in August that L.A. County’s guidelines regarding IV drug users were more restrictive than those of the state’s Medi-Cal program.
Most people become infected with hepatitis C by sharing needles or other IV drug equipment. Acknowledging this, Medi-Cal expanded its treatment guidelines last year to include active IV drug among those considered eligible for hepatitis C drugs. Medi-Cal covers the cost of drugs for this population.
Over one million people in low- and middle-income countries have been treated with a revolutionary new cure for hepatitis C since its introduction two years ago.
When Direct Acting Antivirals (DAAs) were first approved for hepatitis C treatment in 2013, there were widespread fears that their high price would put them out of reach for the more than 80 million people with chronic hepatitis C infections worldwide.
The new medicines have a cure rate of over 95%, fewer side effects than previously available therapies, and can completely cure the disease within three months. But at an initial estimated price of some US$85 000 they were unaffordable even in high-income countries.