European countries are making plans to completely eliminate hepatitis C infections. These plans rely on the recent introduction of highly effective medicines.
With cure rates surpassing 90%, the new treatments present Denmark with an exceptional opportunity to eliminate HCV. Yet while WHO’s new global viral hepatitis strategy articulates a “goal of eliminating viral hepatitis as a major public health threat by 2030,” we still have no national plan in Denmark.
Denmark has had one of the lowest treatment rates in Europe. In 2012, it was estimated that more than 4,000 patients known to have HCV were awaiting treatment, with an even greater number who remain undiagnosed. With the new medicines, the treatment rate for known infections has since risen to 2%—still the lowest rate in Scandinavia.
Like many other countries in the region, Denmark needs to make a dedicated effort to ensure the development, financing and implementation of a comprehensive HCV strategy. Such an initiative will make it possible to one day eliminate HCV.
Back in 2007, the Danish Health and Medicines Authority released its “National action plan for preventing hepatitis C among drug users”. Today, the medical community still refers to it for guidance in controlling HCV, even though the situation has changed markedly since then.
For instance, the 2007 plan focused on drug users but did not include other groups at risk for HCV infection. Such groups account for a sizeable portion of the total number of HCV-infected persons in Denmark, including many who do not know they have the virus. The 2007 plan needs to be updated to reflect the extensive knowledge we have acquired since then.
Read Full Article: We can eliminate hepatitis C – but not without a plan – On Health