Dr Shiva Rayar

Clinical posts from members and guests of the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) from various international medical and scientific conferences on HIV, AIDS, viral hepatitis, and sexual health.

Cost a barrier to Treatment

Posted by on in HIV Cure, eradication of HIV
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Tuesday Morning Sessions at AIDS 2016 Conference Durban - Plenary Session "Where are we now?" and "Hep C treatment in HIV infected patients".

A number of barriers to treatment and reduction in transmission were discussed. Of notable repetition was the barrier of cost. This was raised by the speakers as well as protestors at the sessions. A protestor raised the issue of pharmaceutical companies overcharging for medication such as Hep C treatment at $96K in the US. The speaker responded that this was expensive, but indeed cheaper than the cost of Hep C to the health system overall, and was therefore still cost effective. The protestor responded that people were selectively being treated in the US and were not getting equal access to treatment and therefore a cure. Whilst it may seem cost effective, governments need to be willing and in a position to fund these treatments. In Africa, there are many countries in which patients simply cannot afford any of the treatment options.

In Australia, we are quite fortunate in that that our health system has embraced treatment for Hep C and HIV treatment despite costs and can offer treatment to all residents. Currently Australia is involved in studies for PrEP to help provide a case for funding. We are certainly grateful to Pharmaceutical Companies who have developed effective treatments and cures but there is a need to advocate for lower prices so that we can more easily move towards our goal of zero transmission!


Tagged in: AIDS2016
  • Heidi Spillane
    Heidi Spillane Wednesday, 20 July 2016

    Revolution not just in HCV treatments but also in monitoring and diagnostics

    Another interesting point highlighted by Dr Mark Nelson at this session was about the future of diagnostics and montioring for Heptatitis C.

    He argues that the advent of new Heptatis C core Antigen point of care tests and the future availability of well tolerated pan-genotypic regimens, means that expensive Hepatitis C PCR and genotyping will no longer be needed.

    If diagnosis and monitoring is really scaled back to the essentials, he states that pre-treatment and 3-month post-treatment HCVcAg are all that is needed.

    Another major barrier, especially for resource limited settings, potentially reduced.

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