July 26, 2021

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Beneficiaries of the Health Reform will have access to medicine to treat hepatitis

Health Reform beneficiaries with Hepatitis C are now covered for a drug that the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved three years ago for the treatment of adults and certain children from 12 years suffering from this condition.

Mavyret is the name of this treatment designed to treat hepatitis C, a viral disease that causes inflammation of the liver that can lead to impaired liver function or liver failure.

At a press conference this morning the director of the Health Insurance Administration (ASES), Jorge Galva, announced that they have already identified 15,000 patients who may benefit from it.

“Despite the effects of the pandemic, we have managed to orient and enroll 352 beneficiaries,” said Galva.

As of October 1, in the Health Reform, there were 1,160,819 beneficiaries.

The official recalled that on March 26 he notified all insurers that administer the Government Health Plan, as well as medical groups, primary doctors, dentists and providers participating in the Vital Plan of the beginning of this initiative that seeks to cover the costs associated with this medicine.

“In this way, we save lives, promote the well-being of our patients, we 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, “he said.

According to Galva, it is estimated that in Puerto Rico approximately 2.3% of the population suffers from Hepatitis C.

For her part, the executive director of the Office of the Fund for Services Against Remediable Catastrophic Diseases, Dr. Rossana Martínez Barbosa, indicated that this initiative will help more people to benefit from the Fund, which has a fixed annual budget of $ 10 million.

“For this year we have authorized 33 liver transplants that each has a cost to 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 assigned to requests for other remedial diseases, ”said Martínez Barbosa.

For his part, Galva reported that the process that was initially established was that the primary physician was the one who ordered clinical laboratory tests. If positive, the patient is referred to a specialist. Prescriptions for the referral of the drug, he indicated, had to be issued by gastroenterologists, infectious diseases specialists, hepatologists, specialists in liver and kidney transplants and certified HIV doctors. Meanwhile, the specialist doctors had to send a copy of the prescription and the authorization request order to the patient’s health organization.

“Although this process is being maintained, this month I published a circular letter for the inclusion of primary doctors 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 Also, free of cost and virtually 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 pm, “Galva said.

The president of the College of Pharmacists, Dr. Giselle Rivera Miranda, He applauded the initiative and announced that Reforma patients will be provided with a Drug Adherence Program and the patient will be guided about their condition and the importance of completing their therapies.

“We are very happy that this sustainability measure has been adopted that protects vulnerable patients by giving access to a cure for their disease”, concluded, for his part, the doctor Víctor Ramos, president of the Medical College.

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