FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 8, 2021
Josh Berkowitz: (703) 939-7056
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR), a national coalition working to eliminate viral hepatitis, today released the following statement from Director of Policy Daniel Raymond on the release of new data from CDC that reveals disturbing declines in hepatitis C treatment initiation through 2020:
“The data released today by CDC, which shows a decline in the number of people living with hepatitis C who initiated treatment from 2014 through 2020, is both concerning and disappointing. In spite of dramatic declines in the cost of these medications, at the current rate of treatment, we are estimated to fall significantly short of our goal to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030.
“We must confront the root causes of barriers to treatment and ensure that the most vulnerable populations have access to direct-acting antiviral agents (DAA), such as removing policy restrictions that prevent people from accessing hepatitis C treatments in state Medicaid programs, implementing and financing proven care coordination and patient navigation models, and reaching the most vulnerable populations with testing and linkage to care. We must also consider additional factors contributing to declining treatment rates, including the COVID-19 pandemic and overdose epidemic, which present unique challenges to closing the hepatitis C testing and treatment gaps.
“We call on policymakers to recognize and adequately address these barriers through additional funding and smart, equity-advancing policy proposals that will bring us closer to eradicating a curable disease.”
CDC’s first estimates of hepatitis C treatment, which will be presented at the 2021 American Association of the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD) meeting, show that approximately 843,000 people initiated treatment with DAAs between 2014 and 2020, an average of 120,000 people per year. DAA initiation was highest in 2015 with 164,247 people treated, while dropping to its lowest level in 2020 with 83,740 people treated. In 2015, the National Academies of Science and Medicine estimated that at least 260,000 people living with hepatitis C should be treated annually to fully eliminate hepatitis C by 2030. An estimated 2.4 million people were living with hepatitis C in the United States from 2013-2016.
For more information about hepatitis C treatment access barriers, as well as policies and initiatives to increase access to treatment, screening and testing, please visit www.nvhr.org.
About the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR)
The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, an initiative of HEP, is a national coalition fighting for an equitable world free of viral hepatitis. NVHR seeks to eliminate viral hepatitis in the United States and improve the lives of those affected through advocacy, education, and support to national, state and local partners. For more information, visit www.nvhr.org