Spring update from PHCN

This last month has been a whirlwind of symposiums, conferences and meetings.  We learned and shared a lot during our time spent with colleagues and collaborators across the country.  At the PAN ‘Effective Interventions’ conference in Vancouver, we presented on the benefits of the Community Readiness Model.   In Toronto, we presented about the patient experience in BC at the 3rd Canadian Symposium on HCV, participated in CATIE’s Learning Institute, and participated in a very productive Action Hepatitis Canada day-long meeting.

When looking at hepatitis C care and treatment in BC, the pace of change can seem like it’s taking forever, so we think it’s important to recognize how things are shifting and what methods are working as we strive for better hepatitis C prevention, care and treatment services for all folks in BC.

One of the big issues people face is access to hep C treatment. And as you know, until recently, if treatment was available it was difficult (ie. nasty side effects) and didn’t always work to cure the hep C virus.

Enter – the new Direct Acting Antivirals (DAAs) that really are better – any way you look at them…. fewer side effects, shorter treatment times, better cure rates – what’s not to love!  Which is why PHCN has been working alongside our colleagues to ensure access to these treatments are available sooner rather than later.

As well as being an active member of Action Hepatitis Canada, PHCN stands alongside the Canadian Treatment Action Council (CTAC) in advocacy efforts for a streamlined drug review process – so all Canadians can access new hep C treatments sooner.

We’re really excited to be presenting the case for better hep C treatment access to the Liberal Caucus, at a luncheon organized by the Better Pharmacare Coalition.  Let your MLA know how important this issue is, and remind them to attend this luncheon on March 27th.  For more information about the meeting contact Deb Schmitz: [email protected].

PHCN is also working on the HCV Treatment Information Project (HCV TIP) – a toolkit that will bring together up-to-date resources and information about new treatments, and how to access them in BC, and what the approval process for new treatments looks like both at Health Canada and in BC.  Watch for updates as this project unfolds!

And, you may have heard the story of Brenda Peever.  Brenda, is woman from Ottawa who has hep C, and needs treatment now. Many people seeking treatment for hep C are being advised to wait until these new DAAs are available, because the treatment is so much better. But Ms. Peever can’t wait.  Her ill health demands more immediate attention.  And so, her daughter started a petition to help her mum gain access to treatment. We believe Brenda’s bravery going public with her story, as well as efforts through CTAC, will speed up the process and hopefully have a positive outcome for her, and the many other Canadians who find themselves in a similar situation.

Sharing information and resources, while advocating for change – this is the work we’ll continue with at PHCN…. Strength through cooperation.