18 Apr 2016
Ministries of Health in Ethiopia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Vietnam are accelerating access to hepatitis C (HCV) testing and treatment with technical assistance from the Quick-Start programme, which aims to cure 25,000 people of HCV in the next two years. The Quick-Start programme is a partnership of the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Inc. (CHAI) and Duke Health. The programme is in close collaboration with PharmAccess Foundation, Amsterdam, which is establishing HCV treatment projects in several sub-Saharan African countries.
The Quick-Start programme supports governments to establish successful treatment programs and speed up access to HCV cures. The cornerstone of the programme is a simplified screening and treatment algorithm, developed with Duke’s clinical expertise, in collaboration with leading clinicians from Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, and the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, introducing new direct-acting antiviral (DAA) medicines that will improve and enhance clinical impact while reducing costs and allowing for treatment to be prescribed by general clinicians.
In addition, Bristol-Myers Squibb has agreed to donate Daklinza to the Quick-Start program, as announced on April 13, 2016. CHAI has also signed agreements with Hetero, Mylan, and Roche to significantly reduce the costs of diagnosing and curing people living with HCV at health facilities enrolled in the Quick-Start program. The supply agreements are a first step toward making treatment more affordable in low- and middle-income countries, reducing the cost of diagnosing and treating patients living with HCV in these countries from US $1,370-$1,570 to US $488-$737 per patient, representing a 45-70 percent reduction in cost. The products included in these agreements are highly-effective, high-quality diagnostics and curative treatments that can be feasibly introduced in low-resource settings while ensuring high quality of care.