Viral Hepatitis Updates from the HHS Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy
We are joined by all of our federal colleagues in promoting viral hepatitis awarenessand action during May Hepatitis Awareness Month! But we are not in every state or community so we depend on people like you to help us move forward in our work to address viral hepatitis health disparities, increase prevention and testing efforts, and get more people into treatment or cured of their hepatitis B and hepatitis C. To support this work, our CDC colleagues have compiled the resources described below.
Please take a look and make a plan to take action on viral hepatitis during this important observance! Throughout the month of May, OHAIDP will be posting information about events and opportunities on our website so check in early and often as we work toward our vision of eliminating the public health threat of viral hepatitis in the United States!
Richard Wolitski, PhD, and Corinna Dan, RN, MPH
Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Join the Be #HepAware Thunderclap on May 19th at 12:00 p.m. EDT/9:00 a.m. PDT! Supporters can sign up in advance using their Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr accounts for a one-time post that will automatically be sent on May 19th. Visit http://bit.ly/2q2S44e to sign up and help spread the word to your members and followers. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
If your organization provides ongoing hepatitis testing and vaccination services, please visit https://gettested.cdc.gov/ and fill out an online form to make sure your services are registered within CDC’s database. This site is a tool for people to enter their zip code and find ongoing services in their area.
Share our feature on the ABCs of Viral Hepatitis and encourage people to take the Hepatitis Risk Assessment to get personalized hepatitis vaccination & testing recommendations. The risk assessment can be shared by posting badges on your website or promoting the link on social media.
The Know More Hepatitis campaign, which encourages people born from 1945-1965 to get tested for hepatitis C, and the multilingual Know Hepatitis Bcampaign, promoting hepatitis B testing among Asian Americans, have free resources available for use. Campaign resources include video PSAs, posters, radio PSAs, infographics, fact sheets, customizable event flyers, and other materials.
Visit the Division of Viral Hepatitis’s website for information and resources on all types of hepatitis, including fact sheets, posters, provider resources, and much more.
Follow @cdchep on Twitter for information about hepatitis resources, tools, publications, campaign updates, and events. Use the hashtags #HepAware, #hepatitis and #HepTestingDay to join the conversation and share information on viral hepatitis.
Sign up for monthly emails from the Division of Viral Hepatitis about new publications, recommendations, new materials or significant events.
Curing hepatitis C infection significantly reduces deaths from liver disease and reduces the incidence of decompensation, two large prospective studies from Italy and Scotland show. The findings were presented on Saturday at the 2018 International Liver Congress in Paris.
In particular, Italian researchers showed that people with compensated cirrhosis who were not cured of hepatitis C after direct-acting antiviral treatment were 15 times more likely to die of a liver-related cause during the 18-month period after starting treatment than people with compensated cirrhosis who were cured.
During a heartfelt ceremony Friday morning at Valley Baptist Medical Center-Brownsville, Harlingen resident Jorge Garcia told a group of families whose loved ones have died and donated organs how much it meant to him when he received a kidney in 2013.
“I’ve gone through a lot and on May 25, I will go on my fifth year on this new kidney,” Garcia said. “It has given me that second chance.”
Garcia, 68, a Marine and Vietnam veteran, said that in 2004, while working as an events supervisor at the then-University of Texas at Brownsville, he noticed he became so weak that he couldn’t lift a chair.
Recent breakthroughs in the field of genetic editing have caused a great deal of debate between proponents of the technology who think it can cure many diseases and alleviate human suffering on a scale never before seen and skeptics of the technology who believe that genetic editing is an instance of man playing God and could have terrible unintended consequences.
Another voice has put themselves into the center of the debate: Goldman Sachs. The multinational banking giant warned that genetic editing technology curing many diseases could be bad for business.
According to a CNBC report, Goldman Sachs analysts asked the following question in an Apr. 10 report released to shareholders: “Is curing patients a sustainable business model?”
12 April 2018, Paris, France: Two presentations given this week at The International Liver Congress™ 2018 in Paris, France illustrate the impact that DAAs can have in averting HCV-related liver disease, and reducing the clinical and economic burden of this chronic infection. The first presentation summarized data from Scottish national records providing country-level evidence of a reduction in HCV-related decompensated cirrhosis since the introduction of DAAs in 2014. The second presentation described modelling data based on clinical trials of glecaprevir/pibrentasvir and UK patient tracker data, and suggested that the health and economic benefits of DAAs may be increased if treatment is initiated at an earlier stage of disease.
Rapid advances in the field of HCV treatment have led to the availability of several DAAs that now offer a cure, in the form of a sustained virological response (SVR), for more than 90% of people with chronic HCV infection.15,16 The impact of DAAs on the incidence and cost of liver morbidity and mortality at the population level is not yet known.17 Scotland is home to an estimated 34,500 people chronically infected with HCV and is regarded as a world leader in facing this problem.18 The Hepatitis C Action Plan (2006-2011) and the Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework (2011-2020)19 have resulted in significant increases in HCV diagnosis and treatment over the past decade.18-6 Informed by modelling work, Scotland set the ambitious target of reducing the incidence of HCV-related decompensated cirrhosis by 75% between 2015 and 2020.7,8
The Scottish HCV Clinical and Diagnosis databases, linked with the national inpatient hospital database, provided data on the use of HCV therapy up to March 2017 and on the numbers of patients with a chronic HCV diagnosis that had presented and been admitted to hospital for the first time with decompensated cirrhosis during 2000-2016. Among 4,800 people initiated on HCV therapy in Scotland between April 2014 and March 2017, 83% were treated with DAAs and 94% achieved SVR. This scale up of therapy, compared with the 3 preceding years, was associated with a 29% and 39% reduction in first-time presentations for decompensated cirrhosis among those previously diagnosed with chronic HCV and those with chronic HCV at the time of admission, respectively.
The large graphic accompanying your article (The cost of drugs, 9 April) has a major omission, one of the most important factors affecting medicine pricing and affordability. (There are others involving “international reference pricing” and “parallel trade” but that’s a separate debate.)
It charts the 13 years of rigorous clinical development required by regulators to ensure new drugs achieving regulatory approval are safe and effective. As the article states, all this R&D costs an absolute fortune.
The crucial missing piece is what happens next. Patent exclusivity is limited by regulations enabling other companies to make copies of the original licensed product (within a lot less than the 20 years referred to). Once these “generic” drugs are launched, the originators’ revenues can quickly diminish to next to nothing, meaning that the companies investing in the R&D have a relatively limited window to make their money. With such a relatively short duration to (more than) recoup the costs of investment, drug prices have to be higher than necessary. The issue is even more pronounced for medicines used to treat relatively rare conditions, where the cost per patient has to be necessarily high. If it wasn’t then, simply, fewer new medicines would be made.