Time Requirements for Acquisition of Hepatitis C Virus Therapy in HIV/HCV Coinfected Patients

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Abstract

Background: The process of obtaining approval for hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment may be time consuming and complicated due to prior authorizations and the need to appeal denials. Pharmacists are poised to play a critical role in the acquisition and management of oral direct acting antivirals (DAAs) for the treatment of HCV infection; however, the time expended in this activity requires assessment. Objective: The objective of this study was to assess time expenditures by pharmacists to acquire DAAs for HCV therapy. Methods: Patients were enrolled in the Northwestern University Viral Hepatitis Registry, a prospective, observational cohort of ambulatory, adult patients living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) coinfected with chronic hepatitis B and/or C virus, and recruited since 2013 from the Infectious Disease Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL. Patients were included in the current study if they were referred to the pharmacist for HCV DAA acquisition, drug-drug interaction management, and adherence counseling between February 1, 2014, and April 30, 2015. Patient demographics, virus-specific characteristics, and time required to secure HCV DAA treatment, counsel patients, and follow-up therapy were collected. Results: Among 54 HIV/HCV coinfected patients referred for treatment, all eventually received approval for DAA therapy. However, 87% (n = 47) required prior authorization. Pharmacists dedicated 2.1 hours/patient (interquartile range 1.5-2.8 hours; range 0.75-6.5 hours) to manage DAA therapy. Conclusion: Successful acquisition of HCV DAA therapy relied heavily on pharmacist effort, reflecting the vital role that pharmacists play in this process. Dedicated resources for medication access should be considered to ensure timely DAA acquisition.

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