NVHR Statement on Express Scripts/AbbVie Hepatitis C Treatment Access Announcement

 
 
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December 22, 2014

 

Contact:

Ryan Clary, Executive Director

(415) 235-8593; rclary@nvhr.org

The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) applauds the announcement today by Express Scripts (the nation’s largest pharmacy benefits manager) and AbbVie that Express Scripts will provide access to AbbVie’s new hepatitis C treatment regimen, Viekira Pak, to all patients with genotype 1 hepatitis C infection regardless of stage of liver damage. Express Scripts will also ensure that patients who don’t qualify for Viekira Pak such as those with severe hepatic impairment have access to other FDA approved therapies. The policy will apply to everyone covered by Express Scripts’ National Preferred Formulary, about 25 million people.

NVHR has stated emphatically and repeatedly that everyone living with hepatitis C deserves to be treated and cured and this announcement is a significant step forward in reaching that goal. We also strongly believe that hepatitis C patients should have access to all available FDA approved treatments and recognize that this negotiation limits patient and provider choice. We call on all companies and payers to negotiate agreements that ensure patients have comprehensive access to approved treatments for hepatitis C.

In the meantime, this negotiation is a vast improvement to the current environment in which a significant number of patients have limited or no access to curative treatment. It represents a breakthrough in a difficult year of highly public debates about price and value that excluded the voice and needs of people living with hepatitis C. We hope this is the first of a series of announcements by a wide range of private and public payers about expansion of treatment access and an end to discriminatory barriers. We are also hopeful that similar announcements from other payers will allow us to move beyond price and focus on improving testing and linkage to care, so we can ultimately eradicate hepatitis C in the United States.

 

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The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable is a broad coalition working to fight, and ultimately end, the hepatitis B and hepatitis C epidemics. We seek an aggressive response from policymakers, public health officials, medical and health care providers, the media, and the general public through our advocacy, education, and technical assistance.