SAN JUAN – The executive director of the Health Insurance Administration (ASES), Jorge Galva, together with the president of the College of Physicians, Dr. Víctor Ramos, celebrated on Wednesday the results of the implementation and availability of the Mavyret treatment that cures Hepatitis C for patients Vital Plan beneficiaries.
“Today we celebrate this health initiative that promotes the eradication of Hepatitis C among the beneficiaries of the Health Plan of the Government of Puerto Rico, Vital. I remind you that on March 26, I notified all insurers or Directed Care Management Organizations (MCOs), medical groups, primary physicians, dentists and participating providers of the Government Health Plan, Vital Plan, that we would be starting this initiative and that we cover the costs associated with the drug Mavyret for the treatment of Hepatitis C. Despite the effects of the pandemic, we have managed to orient and enlist 352 beneficiaries, ”Galva said in written statements.
Likewise, he celebrated that “with this inclusion it allows the grade given to Puerto Rico by the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable to rise from a classification of D to a B, and we hope to reach the grade of A once the program presents the results of the first trimester. It is a great achievement if we compare it with states like Minnesota, Mississippi that have a D + score, it has been a significant progress, similar to Florida has B + ”, explained the executive director of ASES.
He stated that “in Puerto Rico it has been estimated that more than 2.3 percent of the population suffers from Hepatitis C, a disease that can end in death. Among the beneficiaries of the Vital Plan we have already identified 15 thousand patients who will be able to benefit from this effective treatment that cures the disease in 98 percent of cases. In this way, we save lives, promote the well-being of our patients, reduce liver transplants and reduce the leading cause of death from chronic liver diseases. On the other hand, we achieved savings of thousands of dollars in the medical use of these patients. To give you an idea, a liver transplant costs the state $ 209,000. Our investment is 28 thousand dollars for a treatment that lasts 8 weeks. But above all we save life, which is the most important thing ”.
The president of the College of Physicians of Puerto Rico, Dr. Víctor Ramos applauded the ASES initiative. “We are very happy that this sustainability measure has been adopted that protects vulnerable patients by giving access to a cure for their disease,” said the doctor.
The executive director of the Office of the Fund for Services Against Remediable Catastrophic Diseases, Dra. Rossana Martínez Barbosa, who represented the Secretary of Health, Dr. Lorenzo González, said that “this initiative will help more people to benefit from the Fund that has a budget annual fixed of 10 million dollars. For this year, we have authorized 33 liver transplants, each of which has a cost for the state of 209 thousand dollars for a total of 6.7 million dollars. Now with this available treatment that cures hepatitis C, these funds can be maximized and allocated to requests for other remedial diseases.
Galva stated that “the process that we initially established was for the primary physician to order clinical laboratory tests and, of these being positive, refer the patient to a specialist. The prescriptions for the aforementioned medicine will be issued by gastroenterologists, infectologists, hepatologists, specialists in liver and kidney transplants and certified HIV doctors. Specialist doctors must send a copy of the prescription and the authorization request order to the patient’s health organization.
Although this process is maintained, this month I published a circular letter for the inclusion of primary physicians certified as prescribers of Hepatitis C with the aim of expanding the process for our beneficiaries of the Vital Health Plan to the treatment of Hepatitis C for uncomplicated patients. Likewise, free of cost and in a virtual way, we make the Certification available to physicians through the Empire Liver Foundation and in collaboration with the College of Physicians. This Thursday, October 29, November 5 and 12 we have several sections scheduled at 4:30 in the afternoon ”.
At the same time, the president of the Puerto Rico Pharmaceutical College, Dr. Giselle Rivera Miranda also applauded the ASES initiative. “Especially that Vital patients with Hepatitis C will be provided with a Drug Adherence Program and it helps the patient with the aim of guiding them about their condition and leading them to complete their therapies. With the support of your chosen pharmacist you will receive education and correct support of your therapy and adherence to it. This will allow them to achieve a cure for their Hepatitis C condition ”, he pointed out.
Those patients with doubts in this regard can visit on the internet: planvitalpr.com or call the orientation line 787-474-3300, option 1 from 8:00 in the morning to 4:30 in the afternoon.