The province of British Columbia has just made treatment for hepatitis C available to all of its residents. Previously, the B.C. government rationed treatment according to a patient’s degree of fibrosis.
Health minister Adrian Dix announced this news today, stating, “I’m pleased to share that as of today, anyone in B.C. living with this now-curable virus will have a choice of several treatment options — all of which are fully funded under PharmaCare.”
Vosevi, Gilead Pharmaceutical’s new treatment for hepatitis C, became available for British Columbians through PharmaCare this week. Ontario approved the drug last week under its similar government-run drug plan.
Full availability of treatment was long awaited. I live in British Columbia. When I was diagnosed four years ago, the cost of the early direct-acting antivirals was more than $100,000. No Canadian province would pay for them. I was lucky to have one of the best employer-paid medical plans in the country, so I was treated. But most people infected with hep C back then had to wait for treatment, often for years.
Now people just need to be tested and cured. Some 73,000 British Columbians are still infected with hepatitis C. The time for their cure is now.