Billion-dollar plan to eradicate hep C
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.