Hepatitis C patients in Nova Scotia can expect some good news – the province will soon cover the cost of a new drug that has a high success rate in treating the disease.
HOLKIRA PAK is a combination of medications that directly inhibits and kills the Hepatitis C virus, according to Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious disease physician with Nova Scotia Health Authority.
The drug was approved by Health Canada in December 2014. Trials indicate a 90 per cent success rate with fewer side effects and shorter treatment time than other medications. Four pills must be taken each day for 12 weeks.
Judy McPhee, the executive director of pharmaceutical services for the Department of Health and Wellness, said the drug should be added to the formulary program within the next month or two.
The province’s budget for all Hepatitis C drugs is between three and four million dollars. There will be no additional cost to the budget to add HOLKIRA PAK to that list.
McPhee expects approximately 100 Nova Scotians to benefit from the drug’s inclusion. She said patients will be screened to ensure they are eligible for the program.
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