Ontario expands patient access to chronic Hepatitis C therapies on public drug plan.

Published 06, Mar, 2018
Author // Guest Authors - Revolving Door

Good news for those infected or co-infected with Hepatitis C in Ontario

Ontario expands patient access to chronic Hepatitis C therapies on public drug plan.

- Gilead applauds Ontario’s Ministry of Health for expanding access to curative hepatitis C therapies to all diagnosed patients, regardless of severity of illness

- Ontario’s expanded access includes EPCLUSA®, a 12 week treatment for patients with chronic hepatitis C across all six genotypes

- Gilead’s new product, VOSEVI™ is now available under the Ontario Drug Benefit Program

- The removal of the fibrosis level criterion for access furthers Canada’s commitment to the World Health Organization’s Global Hepatitis C elimination efforts

Mississauga, ON, February 28, 2018 – Gilead Sciences Canada, Inc. (Gilead Canada) today recognizes the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for its leadership in the expansion of access to therapies that treat chronic hepatitis C virus infection under the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) Program.  Today, all eligible ODB recipients will have greater access to treatment, regardless of the severity of disease (fibrosis level), to achieve a cure and improve their quality of life.  Patients with chronic hepatitis C will no longer have to wait for their disease to progress before starting treatment.

“Expanded access is an important milestone to achieve Canada’s commitment to eliminating hepatitis C by 2030,” said Kennet Brysting, General Manager of Gilead Canada.  “Increasing hepatitis C treatment rates among patients and high-risk populations will help to reduce the burden of illness, the risk of transmission and the significant associated costs to the healthcare system.” 

Today’s announcement will allow more patients to access a broad selection of therapies, including all those developed by Gilead Canada – EPCLUSA (velpatasvir/sofosbuvir), VOSEVI (voxilaprevir/velpatasvir/sofosbuvir), HARVONI® (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir) and SOVALDI® (sofosbuvir).  EPCLUSA is a publicly accessible treatment that can be used for patients with hepatitis C infection across all six genotypes, and VOSEVI is approved for use in patients who have failed on a previous direct-acting antiviral (DAA) treatment regimen. 

“Canada has committed to eliminating hepatitis C by 2030, and to accomplish this goal we need to significantly increase treatment rates,” said Dr. Morris Sherman, Chairperson, Canadian Liver Foundation and hepatologist at Toronto General Hospital.  "Treatment regimens are getting shorter, simpler and more widely effective across genotypes meaning that treatment is now easier for both patients and physicians to manage.

“Currently, an estimated 44 per cent still remain undiagnosed, so increasing treatment rates also requires improving screening and diagnosis, which is why the Canadian Liver Foundation recommends that everyone in Canada born between 1945 and 1975 receive a one-time test for hepatitis C,” added Dr. Sherman.  “Treatment should be an option for everyone, regardless of disease severity, where they live in the province or their ability to pay.  We're glad to see that the Ontario government is taking steps to make treatments accessible for more Ontarians with chronic hepatitis C."

See here for more information on the expanded access for hepatitis C therapies and VOSEVI listing.

About Hepatitis C in Ontario

In Ontario, more than 110,000 people are living with chronic hepatitis C infection.[1]  In Canada, it is estimated that 250,000 people are living with the disease, with thousands of new cases diagnosed each year. It is also estimated that 44 per cent of people living with chronic hepatitis C infection are unaware of their status.[2] There are six genotypes of hepatitis C. Genotype 1 infection is the most prevalent genotype in Canada representing 64 per cent of infected individuals.  Genotypes 2 and 3 account for approximately 14 per cent and 20 per cent of infections in Canada, whereas genotypes 4, 5, and 6 are less prevalent in Canada (0.3 per cent).[3]

Populations at increased risk of hepatitis C infection include: people who inject drugs; baby boomers born between 1945-1975; recipients of infected blood products or invasive procedures in health-care facilities with inadequate infection control practices; people with sexual partners who are infected with hepatitis C; people with HIV infection; prisoners or previously incarcerated persons; and people who have had tattoos or piercings.[4]

About Gilead Sciences
Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Gilead) is a biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative therapeutics in areas of unmet medical need. The company’s mission is to advance the care of patients suffering from life-threatening diseases. Gilead has operations in more than 35 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California. Gilead Sciences Canada, Inc. is the Canadian affiliate of Gilead Sciences, Inc., and was established in Mississauga, Ontario, in 2006.

Forward Looking Statement

This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, including the risk that physicians may not see the benefits of prescribing SOVALDI, HARVONI, EPCLUSA or VOSEVI. These risks, uncertainties and other factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those referred to in the forward-looking statements. The reader is cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements. These and other risks are described in detail in Gilead’s Quarterly Report on Form 10Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2017, as filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to Gilead, and Gilead assumes no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements.

All Canadian product monographs can be found at www.Gilead.ca

SOVALDI, HARVONI, EPCLUSA and VOSEVI are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies.

For more information on Gilead Sciences, please visit the company’s website at www.Gilead.com,
follow Gilead on Twitter (@GileadSciences)
or call Gilead Public Affairs at 1-800-GILEAD-5 or 1-650-574-3000.


Karen M. Chow, National Stakeholder Relations and Communications

Gilead Sciences Canada, Inc.

(905) 363-8083

[1] Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/programs/hepatitis/hep_c.aspx/fr/

[2] Public Health Agency of Canada. Report on Hepatitis B and C in Canada: 2014.

[3] Myers et al., Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology Volume 28 Number 5 May 2014.

[4] World Health Organization. Hepatitis C Fact Sheet. Updated October 2017.

About the Author

Guest Authors - Revolving Door

Guest Authors - Revolving Door

The Revolving Door is the place where we publish occasional articles by guest writers. If you would like to submit an article for publication, please contact editor Bob Leahy at editor@positivelite.com