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February 25, 2019 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Government to Fund New Hep C Medication

Thousands of people living with Hepatitis C could be cured with the government now funding Marivet, a highly effective cure.

Hep C is a virus which attacks the liver. Often, it has only mild symptoms, but left untreated it can cause significant liver damage and cancer.

It is consequently the leading cause of liver transplants in New Zealand.

The Ministry of Health estimates that 50,000 people have the disease in New Zealand (the population of Porirua), only approximately half of whom are diagnosed.

Marivet could significantly reduce that rate. Minister for Health Dr David Clark announced the “99% effective” cure would be subsidised by PHARMAC from February 1.

PHARMAC is the government agency responsible for deciding which medications are subsidised for the public.

“Maviret is a simpler treatment […], has fewer side effects and fewer interactions with other medicines, which should be reassuring for patients,” Dr Clark said.

Mauri Ora told Salient that any GP, including those at their practice, can prescribe Marivet. However, only some pharmacies are accredited to dispense it.

Currently, Life Pharmacy Manners Street is the only accredited pharmacy in central Wellington.

Hep C is spread through contact with infected blood and other bodily fluids—often linked to shared needles. Mauri Ora recommends seeking advice from a GP if you are concerned you may have the disease.

In addition to funding Marivet for Hep C (of any stage), PHARMAC has been funding another drug, Harvoni, for severe liver damage since June 2017.

Mauri Ora: (04) 463 5308

Wellington Sexual Health Services: (04) 385 9879 or Freephone 0800 188 881

Drug and Health Development Project (Needle Exchange): 233a Willis Street, Te Aro


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