Govt urged to replenish as Hepatitis C med stock in govt hospitals runs out

KUALA LUMPUR: The 2,000 treatments allocated for Hepatitis C patients at government hospitals for this year have been used up, and an NGO is urging the Government to replenish the stock.

Positive Malaysian Treatment Access and Advocacy Group (MTAAG+) director Edward Low said the Health Ministry had made the medication available at 22 government hospitals nationwide but the 2,000 treatments had been used up as of Oct 1.

“We would like to urge the new Government to continue treatment for patients with Hepatitis C who have been on the waiting list for many years, he said in a statement on

Low said the government had to continue importing more medication in line with the goal of eliminating Hepatitis C by 2030, as set by WHO.

“We hope in the coming Budget 2019 announcement, the government will have allocation for a national Hepatitis C programme in public health care services,” he said.

From March, the Health Ministry had been bringing in the generic version of Sofosbuvir, which is the backbone combination treatment for Hepatitis C, after the previous government issued a compulsory licence to authorise a local import company to bring in the generic drug, making it affordable and accessible to Malaysians.

Direct acting antivirals, also known as DAAs, have little or no side effect compared to previous medication regime using Interferon.

In July last year, The Star carried a front-page story highlighting the plight of about 400,000 Malaysians who suffered from hepatitis C, with only a fraction of them being able to afford the medication which can cost up to RM300,000 for the full course of treatment.

Malaysia was not given special prices for the newer drugs by pharmaceutical companies because it was considered a middle-income country. Subsequently, the Cabinet gave approval to issue a government-use licence to enable the import of generic versions of the Hepatitis C drug Sofosbuvir, and it was made available in government hospitals in March.

Even if medicine is patented for 20 years, the government has the right to issue compulsory licensing under the rights, flexibilities and safeguards vested to World Trade Organisation members by the agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property.

The government-use licence only applies to drugs used in government health facilities.

Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/10/24/govt-urged-to-replenish-as-hepatitis-c-med-stock-in-govt-hospitals-run-out/#I7tUk83PtcMoGAuU.99

 

Hepatitis C medicines being redistributed, new supply to arrive next month

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has redistributed limited Hepatitis C drug stocks to hospitals to ensure patients get their supply while waiting for new supplies to arrive.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (pic) said that the current Sofosbuvir 400mg tablet stock was enough for patients while the Daclastavir 60mg tablets were limited.

“The stock for the Daclastavir 60mg tablets is expected to arrive in the first week of November for new patients. There is enough stock for patients currently undergoing treatment,” he said in a statement on Thursday (Oct 25).

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The latest Hepatitis C treatment uses a combination of two direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) Sofosbuvir 400mg and Daclatasvir 60mg tablets, he said.

 

Dr Noor Hisham was responding to a statement by Positive Malaysian Treatment Access and Advocacy Group which said that the Hepatitis C drug is out of stock in government hospitals as of Oct 1.

Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/10/25/hepatitis-c-medicines-being-redistributed-new-supply-to-arrive-next-month/#O7HUp4oM7ladyIex.99

Hep C patient left in the lurch

Thursday, 25 Oct 2018

By Loh Foon Fong

KUALA LUMPUR: A patient who is on Hepatitis C treatment has to stop his treatment after the allocated 2,000 treatments for this year ran out.

The self-employed patient, who wanted to be known as Zack, 38, said the hospital he went to had run out of stock of the medicine and his treatment will resume once stock is available.

“I hope the government will bring in the stock quickly because, not only I, but many of my friends, are waiting to be treated,” he said in a telephone interview.

Zack, who lives in Sungai Petani, Kedah, said he has liver scarring and started the treatment in July and had only completed 12 weeks of treatment.

“The doctor told me last month that he wanted me to be on the medication for up to six months. I was told to wait for the stock, then only continue with treatment,” said Zack, who was treated with a combination of the generic version of Sofosbuvir and Daclatasvir.

The former drug user said four of his friends had died of Hepatitis C, two in April and June.

“I am concerned because one of my friends looked well and then suddenly fell sick and died. Just before he died, his stomach was bloated,” he said.

Positive Malaysian Treatment Access and Advocacy Group (MTAAG+) director Edward Low said the Health Ministry has made the medication available at 22 government hospitals nationwide but the 2,000 treatments allocated for this year have finished as at Oct 1.

“We urge the new government to continue treatment for patients with Hepatitis C who have been on the waiting list for many years,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

Low said the government has to continue importing more medication in line with achieving the goal to eliminate Hepatitis C by 2030 as set by WHO.

“Elimination of Hepatitis C will fail without the new government’s commitment.

“We hope in the coming Budget 2019 announcement, the government will have allocation for a national Hepatitis C programme in public health care services,” he said.

From March, the Health Ministry had been bringing in the generic version of Sofosbuvir, which is the backbone combination treatment for Hepatitis C after the previous government issued a compulsory licence (CL) to authorise a local import company to bring in the drug, making it affordable and accessible to Malaysians.

This direct-acting antivirals has little or no side effects compared with previous medication.

In July last year, The Star carried a front page report about 400,000 Malaysians with Hepatitis C who could barely afford the full course of treatment that could cost up to RM300,000.

Malaysia was not given special prices for the newer drugs by the pharmaceutical company because it is considered a middle-income country.

The Cabinet then gave approval to issue a government-use licence to enable the import of generic versions of Sofosbuvir drug even though it is still patented, as provided for under the rights, flexibilities and safeguards vested to World Trade Organisation members through the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property agreement.

Another patient identified as Camelia, 41, said he had been waiting for 18 years for Hepatitis C treatment and hoped the government could replenish and bring in more medicine because 2,000 treatments are not enough to treat about 400,000 patients.

“Although my liver shows no scarring yet, the longer the wait, the higher the risk of scarring. That’s my concern,” said the finance manager, adding that it will cost more and will take longer to treat once that happens.

The doctor wanted to start him on treatment on Oct 1 but the medicine had run out of stock, he said.

Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/10/25/hep-c-patient-left-in-the-lurch-man-forced-to-stop-treatment-after-hospital-runs-out-of-medicine/#dib3eWFBLoWjEBxx.99

Hepatitis C elimination will fail without new Malaysian government commitment

For Immediate Release

23rd Oct 2018

Hepatitis C elimination will fail without new Malaysian government commitment.

Petaling Jaya

 

Positive Malaysian Treatment Access and Advocacy Group (MTAAG+) would like to strongly urge the new government of Malaysia to continue treatment to patients with Hepatitis C who are in the waiting list for many years. An estimated 380,000 Malaysians were infected with Hepatitis C.

Since March 2018, The Ministry of Health, Malaysia has brought the latest affordable medication, Sofosbuvir, which is the backbone combination to treat all type of Hepatitis C. This Direct Acting Antivirals also known as DAAs has little or no side effect compared to previous medication regime using Interferon (IFN).

MOH has made the medication available at 22 government hospitals nationwide. However, we understand that 2,000 treatments have finished as of 1st Oct 2018, and the government has to continue importing more medication in line with achieving the goal in an elimination of Hepatitis C by 2030 as set by WHO.

We wish in the coming National Budget 2019 announcement to have a budget allocation for the National Hepatitis C program in public health care services.

 

Contact director. Edward Low

Positive Malaysian Treatment Access and Advocacy Group (MTAAG+)

Email : erd_2000_1989@yahoo.co.uk

H/P : 012- 3278 812

Website : https://mtaagplusmalaysia.wordpress.com/

 

Malaysia takes fight to end TB to UN meeting

 

Malaysia, represented by its Health Minister, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad yesterday declared its commitment to ending the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic by 2035 at the High-Level Meeting on the Fight to End TB, at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York. Pic by NSTP/ZUNNUR AL SHAFIQ

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia, represented by its Health Minister, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad yesterday declared its commitment to ending the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic by 2035 at the High-Level Meeting on the Fight to End TB, at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York.

Dr Dzulkefly, in a statement today, said the burden of TB for Malaysia was still significant with a notification rate of 81 per 100,000 population and a mortality rate of 6.5 per 100,000 population in 2017.

“TB can be eliminated by ensuring universal access to high-quality diagnosis, treatment and care of all forms of TB, including multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB).

“Malaysia as an upper higher middle-income country pledges that the cost for rapid molecular test and anti-TB treatment for drug resistant TB be reviewed, so that more people can benefit from this test and treatment.”

He said cooperation between the public and private sectors, and socio-economic and psychosocial support from the community were also important factors for successful TB treatment and outcome.

Malaysia, he added, was committed to implementing, monitoring and evaluating the strategies proposed in the National Strategic Plan for Tuberculosis Control (2016-2020) with full support and engagement of a wide range of stakeholders. – BERNAMA

https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2018/09/415524/malaysia-takes-fight-end-tb-un-meeting