New hep C cure with 99% success rate available today

Tens of thousands of New Zealanders suffering from hepatitis C are set to benefit from a life-saving cure for the disease which is available from today.

Health Minister David Clark says PHARMAC’s decision to fund new drug Maviret is a big step forward for the treatment of hepatitis C in New Zealand.

“There are around 21,000 people diagnosed with hepatitis C in New Zealand and a further 30,000 are thought to have the disease but are undiagnosed. All of these people will potentially benefit from Maviret,’’ David Clark said.

“Previous treatments were only available to around 3000 people due to the type of hepatitis C they had.

“Maviret will cure more than 99% of New Zealanders with hepatitis C, regardless of the type or severity of liver disease and previous treatment.

“This provides a unique opportunity to eliminate hepatitis C from New Zealand. This should save 2500 lives and removes the need for more than 500 liver transplants.

“What’s more, Maviret is a simpler treatment – just one daily dose for a minimum of 8 weeks. It also has fewer side effects and fewer interactions with other medicines, which should be reassuring for patients.

“There’s no requirement for pre-treatment testing, and because of this, prescribing by general practitioners and other community based prescribers will become generally more straightforward.

“This is a great time for anyone who may have been exposed to hepatitis C to get tested if they haven’t done so already and benefit from this drug if they need it.

“This Government is committed to building a strong, effective and equitable public health service for all New Zealanders, and funding Maviret and doing all within our power to eliminate viral hepatitis as a major public health threat by 2030 is a prime example of that priority,” said David Clark.