Availability of hepatitis C diagnostics and therapeutics in European and Eurasia countries

2017 Antiviral Research 150;(9-14)

BACKGROUND: Treatment with direct acting antiviral agents (DAAs) has provided sustained virological response rates in >95% of patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. However treatment is costly and market access, reimbursement and governmental restrictions differ among countries. We aimed to analyze these differences among European and Eurasian countries. METHODS: A survey including 20-item questionnaire was sent to experts in viral hepatitis. Countries were evaluated according to their income categories by the World Bank stratification. RESULTS: Experts from 26 countries responded to the survey. As of May 2016, HCV prevalence was reported as low (=1%) in Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK; intermediate (1-4%) in Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Kosovo, Greece, Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia, Serbia and high in Georgia (6.7%). All countries had national guidelines except Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, Tunisia, and UK. Transient elastography was available in all countries, but reimbursed in 61%. HCV-RNA was reimbursed in 81%. PegIFN/RBV was reimbursed in 54% of the countries. No DAAs were available in four countries: Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Serbia, and Tunisia. In others, at least one DAA combination with either PegIFN/RBV or another DAA was available. In Germany and the Netherlands all DAAs were reimbursed without restrictions: Sofosbuvir and sofosbuvir/ledipasvir were free of charge in Georgia. CONCLUSION: Prevalence of HCV is relatively higher in lower-middle and upper-middle income countries. DAAs are not available or reimbursed in many Eurasia and European countries. Effective screening and access to care are essential for reducing liver-related morbidity and mortality.