Bye bye limitatio – People with hepatitis C are relieved

The rationing of hepatitis C drugs laid down by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) about three years ago will be abolished as of 1 October 2017. For the first time, all patients can be treated regardless of the type of virus and disease progression.
The rationing of Gilead’s hepatitis C medicines will also be discontinued on October 1,2017. Harvoni and Epclusa can thus be prescribed to all hepatitis C patients for the first time, regardless of liver damage. This was after the rationing had already been abolished for Zepatier on July 1 and for Viekirax/Exviera on August 1 for all those affected with genotypes 1 or 4.
The abolition of rationing was accompanied by substantial price reductions, which are now also expected for Gilead products. Since Gilead’s Epclusa can be used for all 6 genotypes, all hepatitis C patients, regardless of their stage of development, can be treated and cured with a very high probability from October 1. This is excellent news for affected patients and represents an important step towards the elimination of hepatitis C in Switzerland.
This concludes a sad chapter in the history of the Swiss healthcare system. For years, leading representatives of the FOPH have claimed that it makes no sense to treat “healthy people”. As a result, thousands of people with hepatitis C were left untreated and continued to suffer from the symptoms of their disease for years. We welcome the latest developments and are extremely pleased with the change of heart in the FOPH. With the abolition of rationing, the core requirement of the SHCA patient organisation and the Positive Council, the “treatment of all HCV patients”, has finally been fulfilled.
This is the demand we have made since our petition to Federal Councillor Berset in July 2015.
The FOPH will boast of having achieved price reductions. This confirms our accusation that the Federal Office fought a price war on the back of the patients for years. This is ethically untenable and we warn against pursuing the same strategy for other life-threatening diseases. Under no circumstances should those affected be the victims of such price wars. We demand that our Parliament develops the necessary instruments to enable the Federal Office to conduct future price negotiations more constructively and transparently.

We would like to thank the experts of the Swiss Hepatitis Strategy, who have worked tirelessly with us to promote the well-being of those affected, and we regard the case of the limitation as a joint success for civil society.
We would also like to thank the industry, whose medicines have cured us and hopefully will now enable many other hepatitis C patients to lead a new life. Their willingness to compromise in the negotiations with the FOPH made it possible to abolish rationing.

Awarness day for World Hepatitis Day – Zurich 28.7.2017

Following the announcement by the FOPH of the extension of treatment for all HCV patients with Zepatier®, the SHCA canceled its day of protest in Berne. We will now hold an information and awareness day for Hepatitis C in honor of the World Hepatitis Day on 28 July 2017. Our presence is from 12-16 pm near the Pestalozzi park on the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich.

Come numerous and support our cause in order to be able to eliminate hepatitis in Switzerland by 2030. We plan a joint evening with grill fun. This place will be communicated later.

Swiss Hepatitis C patients : abandonned by the system

A patient dies because his disease is detected too late. A patient with advanced cirrhosis waited almost a year for treatment. The health insurance companies refuse saving therapies with flimsy or even illegal justifications – the Swiss healthcare system is failing.

Nevertheless, Dr. Koch of the Federal Office of Public Health openly claims in the press and on television that all patients who need treatment get one. The desperate people who contact us again and again, make different experiences.

Ms. Tanja Klein contacted us after the television news program on SFR 1 “10 vor 10” on 24 January. She could not leave unheeded the spread of such lies on the part of the Federal Office of Public Health. Her fate has shaken us. Mr. Klein lost his life in a few months. Diagnosed too late, any help came too late. If a true hepatitis strategy had been implemented, as we have been claiming for years, this sad outcome would have been very likely preventable.

Some health insurance companies do their utmost to avoid having to pay for these life-saving treatments for hepatitis C. A particularly sordid example: A patient has cirrhosis of level F4, and the health insurance company Atupri refuses to pay for the treatment for 10 months. The patient fears for his life, his doctor is fighting windmills. It’s criminal.

While patients are fighting for their lives, they are officially appeased and delayed. The Federal Office responsible does not care about the Health Insurance Act. How many Swiss patients still have to die from hepatitis C, how many still have to suffer and wait for treatment? We demand: This miserable game of cat and mouse on the patient’s back must stop!