Eliminating hepatitis C in Canada
The time has come to eliminate hepatitis C in Canada.
Our government has signed up to the World Health Organisation’s target to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030 – but if we carry on the same path this will not be achieved.
Hepatitis C is a curable disease – and despite medications being available for over three years an estimated 220,000 – 245,000 Canadians are infected with hepatitis C. Unfortunately, around 44% of those individuals are unaware of their status.
We want to eliminate hepatitis C in Canada – find out more by reading the executive summary of our white paper: The time has come to eliminate hepatitis C in Canada.
We are delighted with the media coverage the campaign has received – you can watch, listen, and read it here.
We are asking you to join us and make your voice heard by endorsing our message:
Our Calls to Action
1. Increased access to testing, including point-of-care testing, rapid testing, and one-time cohort screening for all baby boomers
We will not achieve elimination without making the testing process for HCV more accessible to all those who desire it. Point-of-care testing (POCT) encompasses diagnostic tests that can be performed by a health care professional, or other qualified personnel, whether that be self-tests administered and completed by the patient themselves in the home or in a community setting (pharmacies, community health clinics, etc.)
2. Removal of restrictive eligibility requirements to access treatment
The pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA) and participating drug plans announced in 2017 their new pricing framework to bring down the cost of HCV medications.
As such, it is time for treatment eligibility to be opened, so anyone with hepatitis C, no matter where they live, can be cured.
3. Access to all hepatitis C medications approved by Health Canada on public drug programs
The populations living with HCV are not well served in Canada’s patchwork health care system, with separate jurisdictional responsibilities for health in each province and territory, and at the federal level. A complex web of public and private drug coverage, and in some cases lack of coverage, creates inequity, restricting access for many. What medications people can get, at what cost, varies widely, depending on the forms of public and private insurance available to them.
4. Creation of a framework by the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA) to standardize processes and timelines and add transparency
A lack of standardized timelines for review and price negotiation, both between the manufacturer and the pCPA, and the manufacturer and individual drug formularies across the country, has resulted in bottlenecks in the availability of new medications.
CTAC calls on the pCPA to create a framework to address the lack of standardization around timelines for the negotiation of drugs, enhance transparency around the decision-making process, and ensure all drugs that have a positive recommendation from CADTH and/or INESS proceed quickly to the pCPA negotiating table.
5. Removal of the time delay between the close of pCPA negotiations and the signing of Product Listing Agreements with individual formularies
6. Lower drug costs
Canada has access to the medications necessary to cure people and eliminate HCV as a public health threat; especially as newly emerging drugs have broadened the populations that could be effectively treated. Therefore, it is imperative that the cost of medication continues to decline in order to maximize the number of individuals being able to access publically funded, curative treatments in a timely manner.
7. A standalone viral hepatitis plan
With this would come the need for not just measurable targets but comprehensive and accurate data with an emphasis on the importance of community adding to this and validating the data to help ensure its accuracy. This data will be key to a well-informed, comprehensive, strategic national hepatitis plan/response.
Take Further Action
Take action – Tell three people about the need to increase access to HCV treatment
Take action – Write to your Health Minister:
Media Coverage – Watch, listen & read here
Expert Supporters Include
The Canadian HIV and Viral Hepatitis Pharmacists Network (CHAP)
Dr. Lisa Barrett MD PhD FRCPC
Clinician Scientist, Infectious Diseases
Dr. Ritika Goel, MD, MPH, CCFP
Dr. Jordan Feld, MD, MPH
R. Phelan Chair in Translational Liver Research
Toronto Centre for Liver Disease
Toronto General Hospital
University Health Network
Marilou Gagnon, RN, PhD
Alice Tseng, B.SC.PHM., PHARMD, FCSHP, AAHIVP
Dr. Hemant Shah
MD, MScCH, HPTE
Action Hepatitis Canada (AHC)
“AHC endorses CTAC’s calls to action to end hepatitis C. A standalone viral hepatitis strategy that addresses increased testing, access to timely treatment, care and support for the more than 244,000 people in Canada with hepatitis C, many of whom don’t even know they have the virus, is the only way that Canada will meet its WHO commitment to end hepatitis C as a public health threat in Canada by 2030.”
Patricia Bacon, Chair, Action Hepatitis Canada