Bil­lion-dol­lar plan to erad­i­cate hep C

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS -

HEP­ATI­TIS C suf­fer­ers can look for­ward to more af­ford­able ac­cess to break­through med­i­ca­tion thanks to a bil­lion-dol­lar sub­sidy plan by the Fed­eral Govern­ment.

More than $1 bil­lion will be in­vested into the ef­fort to erad­i­cate the dis­ease within a gen­er­a­tion as the Govern­ment sub­sidises costs to en­sure max­i­mum avail­abil­ity and ac­cess.

The hep­ati­tis C medicines will be listed on the Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Ben­e­fits Scheme from March 1 this year and see costs for pa­tients drop from up to $100,000 to the nor­mal co-pay­ment for medicine – $6.10 for con­ces­sional pa­tients and $37.70 for gen­eral pa­tients.

Swan MHR Steve Irons was chair of the stand­ing com­mit­tee on health, which tabled the re­port on the in­quiry into hep­ati­tis C in Aus­tralia in June last year.

“Aus­tralia will be­come one of the first coun­tries in the world to pub­licly sub­sidise th­ese medicines for the na­tion’s en­tire pop­u­la­tion of hep­ati­tis C suf­fer­ers, no mat­ter what their con­di­tion or how they con­tracted it,” Mr Irons said.

“It’s es­ti­mated 230,000 Aus­tralians live with hep C, and this an­nounce­ment can ef­fec­tively bring an end to this deadly and de­bil­i­tat­ing dis­ease within a gen­er­a­tion.”

Mr Irons said while the money would go far in help­ing pa­tients with hep­ati­tis C, Aus­tralia still had a way to go in re­duc­ing the stigma of the ill­ness.

“It's im­por­tant we tackle dis­eases like this head-on, and that in­cludes pro­vid­ing the medicines needed to all Aus­tralians, but also rais­ing aware­ness and re­duc­ing the stigma as­so­ci­ated with it,” Mr Irons said.

He said the com­mit­tee rec­om­mended that the Aus­tralian Govern­ment work with the states and ter­ri­to­ries to de­velop well-in­formed aware­ness cam­paigns tar­geted at the gen­eral com­mu­nity, pop­u­la­tions at high-risk of in­fec­tion, peo­ple al­ready liv­ing with hep­ati­tis C and wider com­mu­ni­ties to high­light the im­pact of stigma.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.