About 1,400 British Columbians have been treated for hepatitis C in the first four months since new anti-viral medications were covered by the province’s public drug plan — far above predictions.
The Ministry of Health expected 1,500 patients in the first full year for the pill-based medication.
Dr. Mel Krajden, medical head of hepatitis at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, says the numbers reflect pent-up demand from patients seeking the latest treatments.
“A lot of people who are infected follow the literature on these drugs and they were waiting for the newer ones. It’s a whole group of people who realized these medications are more effective, better tolerated with fewer side effects and work over a shorter period of time,” Krajden said at a World Hepatitis Day event Tuesday in Vancouver.