MORE than 130,000 people will benefit from new and extended medicine subsidies through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
|Scooped by Tabitha Michaud|
With approximately three hundred thousand Australians suffering from the virus, Hepatitis C has eclipsed HIV and AIDs as the number one viral cause of morbidity, as well as the leading reason for liver transplants. Currently, the Australian government has employed many mechanisms of prevention and treatment for the virus, with the main one differing from the American health care approach: needle and syringe programs. The Australian assumption is that since contaminated needles is the number one reason for infection, if people who were using were at least given clean and proper tools, it would prevent the disease from spreading since it’s not like people who aren’t using the needles from recreational purposes would suddenly decide to just because they were government provided. While in America, this method is not employed due to the assumption that offering clean needles would encourage people to start or continue use instead of finding counseling or quitting substance abuse. It is a system used for those already using and not stopping just to have a safer method.
Another push the government is trying to make is by adding two of the main preventative and curative drugs, Boceprevir and Telaprevir, to the PBS list so that they are more economical and attainable consumer products. Approved for listing in February of this year, the drugs are believed to double the cure rate and shorten the treatment by six months, hoping to prevent chronic life-threatening diseases such as hepatocelluar carcinoma and liver failure. Costing up to seventy-eight thousand dollars per year without subsidies from the government, most of these medications would be entirely unattainable to most of the patients. Since there is no preventative vaccination like the other strands of hepatitis, it is important that Australians are given proper education on prevention, and proper access to treatment if the virus is contracted.