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Cure Rate for New Hepatitis C Drug Reaches 98% NHI Big Data Identifies People Potentially Infected

  According to the statistics of the National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA), the cure rates for patients who completed the new oral drug treatment for hepatitis C in the past three years (2017 to 2019) were 97.0%, 97.4% and 98.7%, respectively, with an average reaching 98.1%. This indicates that almost every patient who received the complete treatment has recovered successfully. In order to achieve the goal of eliminating hepatitis C by 2025, the NHIA has identified 120,000 people potentially infected with hepatitis C through big data analysis. Such data will be provided to local departments of health to screen for people with hepatitis C and urge these patients to actively seek treatment.

 

  Since the inclusion of the new oral hepatitis C drug to National Health Insurance (NHI)-covered medication on January 24, 2017, the number of people treated using the new drug has reached about 75,000 as of the end of 2019. This number is expected to surpass 100,000 around August 10 this year (2020). Together with the successful interferon treatment of nearly 80,000 people in the past, it is estimated that approximately 40% of people living with hepatitis C in Taiwan have received treatment. Currently, we are halfway through our goal of eliminating hepatitis C (an 80% treatment coverage of hepatitis C per definition of the World Health Organization; for Taiwan, the target is about 320,000 people) in Taiwan by 2025!

 

  In order to identify people with hepatitis C and help people potentially infected with hepatitis C through early detection and early treatment, the NHIA analysed the NHI database to identify approximately 20,000 people who can be treated with medication, 85,000 people who need to be tested for viral load, and 20,000 people who need to be screened for antibodies, totaling 120,000 people who may be infected with hepatitis C but have not received treatment. These data enable local departments of health to promote their screening plans more effectively, which happens to echo this year's theme of World Hepatitis Day (July 28): "Finding the Missing Millions".

 

  According to the NHIA, this year, the government budgeted approximately NT$8.2 billion for hepatitis C medication, which is significantly higher than amounts of the past three years (approximately NT$3 billion, NT$5 billion and NT$6.5 billion, respectively). Until late July this year, about 24,000 people have used the new drug, and there are over 30,000 treatment opportunities still available. Any patient with hepatitis C who has yet to receive the new drug treatment should seize this opportunity and seek medical attention.

  • Date:2020-07-28