Pathways to ensure universal and affordable access to hepatitis C treatment

Caitlin H. Douglass, Alisa Pedrana, Jeffrey V. Lazarus, Ellen F. M. Hoen'T, Radi Hammad, Ricardo Baptista Leite, Andrew Hill, Margaret Hellard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads

Abstract

Direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) have dramatically changed the landscape of hepatitis C treatment and prevention. The World Health Organization has called for the elimination of hepatitis C as a public health threat by 2030. However, the discrepancy in DAA prices across low-, middle- and high-income countries is considerable, ranging from less than US 100 to approximately US 40,000 per course, thus representing a major barrier for the scale-up of treatment and elimination. This article describes DAA pricing and pathways to accessing affordable treatment, providing case studies from Australia, Egypt and Portugal. Pathways to accessing DAAs include developing comprehensive viral hepatitis plans to facilitate price negotiations, voluntary and compulsory licenses, patent opposition, joint procurement, and personal importation schemes. While multiple factors influence the price of DAAs, a key driver is a country's capacity and willingness to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies. If negotiations do not lead to a reasonable price, governments have the option to utilise flexibilities outlined in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. Affordable access to DAAs is underpinned by collaboration between government, civil society, global organisations and pharmaceutical companies to ensure that all patients can access treatment. Promoting these pathways is critical for influencing policy, improving access to affordable DAAs and achieving hepatitis C elimination.

Original languageEnglish
Article number175
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Medicine
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2018

Keywords

  • Healthcare financing
  • Hepatitis C
  • Treatment

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