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NHIA Expands Physicians for Prescribing Oral Hepatitis B Antivirals, and Lists New Drugs.

The NHIA approved a number of new drugs for NHI coverage and expansion on payment regulations on June 16 including adding one category of specialist to the list of physicians prescribing oral hepatitis B antivirals, and adding new drugs for tocolysis and the treatment of "adult polycythemia vera (PV) with asymptomatic splenomegaly," which is expected to effect on September 1, 2022.

According to the NHIA, although the current coverage scope for oral hepatitis B antivirals already includes preventive use and use during flare-ups for patients receiving immunosuppressive therapy, considering that immunosuppressive drugs are routine drugs used in rheumatology and immunology, they are thus necessary. The Pharmaceutical Benefit and Reimbursement Scheme (PBRS) agreed to add rheumatology and immunology specialist to the qualifications for prescribing this type of drug. Under the condition of a prior consultation with a gastroenterological specialist, it will allow for timely administration of the drug and reduce the risk of recurrent hepatitis B in patients. When the drug is taken for an extended period, this can reduce the inconvenience of consultation among multiple specialists and improve drug compliance.

The PBRS also agreed to add drugs containing atosiban, an oxytocin receptor antagonist, used to prevent premature labor. Clinical trials have shown atosiban to have a tocolytic effect similar to ritodrine injection (a β-agonist), a drug currently covered under NHI, with significant lower the incidence of cardiovascular events to mother, thus indicating its clinical necessity. It is estimated that 2,370 to 4,270 pregnant women per year will benefit over the next five years.

The NHIA first includes the Taiwan-developed drug containing ropeginterferon alfa-2b to be covered by NHI for the treatment of "adult polycythemia vera (PV) with asymptomatic splenomegaly. It is expected to benefit 510 to 650 patients each year over the next 5 years.

  • Date:2022-08-15