Major advances in the treatment of hepatitis C

The provision of funded treatment for hepatitis C in primary health is a fundamental change in the treatment of hepatitis C.

In June 2016 PHARMAC announced funding for direct-acting antiviral drug therapies for New Zealanders living with the hepatitis C virus.

From July 2016, Harvoni and Viekira Pak for hepatitis C infection were fully funded (some with access criteria) through a hospital specialist. This was a major advancement in the treatment of hepatitis C, with cure rates of more than 90% with as little as 12 weeks oral treatment.

Since October 2016, all prescribers including general practitioners have been able to prescribe Viekira Pak and Viekira Pak-RBV.

On 17 December 2018 PHARMAC announced their decision to fund a new treatment for people with hepatitis C to commence from 1 February 2019. This treatment is a potential cure for people with chronic hepatitis C infection regardless of the type or genotype

This treatment (known as Maviret) has fewer side effects and fewer interactions with other medicines than the previous funded treatments and is a simpler treatment – once-daily dose for a minimum of 8 weeks. Refer to the PHARMAC website for details about the announcement.

PHARMAC continues to work closely with clinicians, the Ministry, suppliers and others in the health sector to ensure that the right information is available to support the treatment of hepatitis C in the community.

Refer to the PHARMAC website for information to support the roll out of the new hepatitis C funded treatments. This includes information from the Best Practice Advocacy Centre, product information, medical information for prescribers and pharmacists, and more details about patient eligibility for funded treatments:

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