Availability of hepatitis C diagnostics and therapeutics in European and Eurasia countries

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Abstract

Background

Treatment with direct acting antiviral agents (DAAs) has provided sustained virological response rates in >95% of patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. However treatment is costly and market access, reimbursement and governmental restrictions differ among countries. We aimed to analyze these differences among European and Eurasian countries.

Methods

A survey including 20-item questionnaire was sent to experts in viral hepatitis. Countries were evaluated according to their income categories by the World Bank stratification.

Results

Experts from 26 countries responded to the survey. As of May 2016, HCV prevalence was reported as low (≤1%) in Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK; intermediate (1–4%) in Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Kosovo, Greece, Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia, Serbia and high in Georgia (6.7%). All countries had national guidelines except Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, Tunisia, and UK.

Results

Transient elastography was available in all countries, but reimbursed in 61%. HCV-RNA was reimbursed in 81%.

Results

PegIFN/RBV was reimbursed in 54% of the countries. No DAAs were available in four countries: Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Serbia, and Tunisia. In others, at least one DAA combination with either PegIFN/RBV or another DAA was available. In Germany and the Netherlands all DAAs were reimbursed without restrictions: Sofosbuvir and sofosbuvir/ledipasvir were free of charge in Georgia.

Conclusion

Prevalence of HCV is relatively higher in lower-middle and upper-middle income countries. DAAs are not available or reimbursed in many Eurasia and European countries. Effective screening and access to care are essential for reducing liver-related morbidity and mortality.

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