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ASHM has issued a set of advice for doctors faced with patients asking about importing generic hepatitis C medicines.

The advice is intended for clinicians experienced in the management and treatment of hepatitis C using Direct Acting Antivirals (DAAs).

In a position statement released at the same time, ASHM stressed its support for unrestricted and universal access to DAA interferon free treatment for people living with hepatitis C and highlighted their limited access despite approval by the TGA and the PBAC’s recommendation for listing on the PBS.

“There is currently no subsidisation program such as the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) to provide affordable access to DAA interferon free treatment regimens for Australian consumers,” the statement said.

Although access to DAA interferon-free treatment is available through clinical trials and Patient Access Programs in some states and territories, places are limited and not everyone needing treatment are eligible.

As such, ASHM acknowledged that importation of hepatitis C medicine was an option for individuals under the TGA’s Personal Importation Scheme, but urged caution and strongly recommended that advice be sought from doctors experienced in the treatment of hepatitis C using DAAs.

The advice to clinicians provides a basic guide of steps to take when a patient requests a script for generic DAA, from establishing hepatitis C status and assessing genotypes and potential drug interactions, to monitoring and side effects.

Information is provided on the Personal Importation Scheme including links to the TGA website as well as examples of where the generic DAAs could be ordered and links to the FixHepC buyers club which could provide assistance in buyng, testing and delivery.

Image: Tablets by CR Lopez via flickr on Creative Commons Licence

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