Healthcare/Biosafety

Financing and medication quality of the C Hepatitis elimination program

3 February, 2016

There are questions asked in the media regarding the state program of C hepatitis elimination, about the quality of medication and financing of the program. Myth Detector turned with this questions to the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia.

Drugs of new generation are used in the C hepatitis treatment program: Sofosbuvir (1st stage of the program and harvoni (2ndstage of the program), which have high effectiveness and small number of side effects compared to the medication of previous generation. The drugs are given to the patients free of charge.

Within this program, 25 000 vials of Sofosbuvir worth of 1 billion lari arrived to Georgia. They were given to Georgia free of charge by the Gilead company.Effectiveness and safety of the drug has been confirmed by clinical tests.It has all necessary documents proving its quality (Food & Drug Administration – FDA, Europian Medicinal Agency – EMA), which are accepted both on the international market and in Georgia.As to Harvoni, it is planned to receive it in Georgia in late February. Providing company is again Gilead.

Gilead Sciences is biopharmaceutical company established in America in 1987. The main area of its activities includes antivirus medication,used against HIV, B and C hepatitis, and flu viruses.The company is active in North America, Europe and Australia.

Medication for 1 month is given to the patients free of charge. There is monitoring system in place, as a result of which the risks are minimized. According to the latest data, 3000 patients went through the treatment, 90% of whom have positive results.

Within the C hepatitis treatment program patients receive medication free of charge, while necessary medical examinations are co-financed.Decisions about including patients into the program are made by the special commission that consists of the Ministry employees and specialists.

There are several reasons why this program came to being. The C hepatitis rate in Georgia is high - 6,7%. Due to the small scale of the country it is easier to achieve quick results. Besides, in Georgia there are qualified medical personnel, necessary human resources, and experience of conducting this kind of programs (prevention and treatment of AIDS).

The program of C hepatitis elimination is conducted by the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, with support from United States Centers for Decease Control and Prevention and pharmaceutical company Gilead.

After the example of Georgia, similar program, also free of charge, has been launched in Iceland. Meanwhile, Germany, France and Italy are making common purchases of medication in order to lower the price.