There is no shortage of medicine to treat current Hepatitis C patients, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah assured today.
He said contemporary treatment for Hepatitis C involved two drugs- Direct Acting Antivirals (DAAs) Tablet Sofosbuvir 400mg and Tablet Daclatasvir 60mg.
“The current stock for Tablet Sofosbuvir 400mg is enough for all patients, but the Tablet Daclastavir 60mg stock is limited at the moment. The Health Ministry has taken steps to replenish stocks at hospitals that need the medicine to ensure there is no disruption of supply.
“The new stock of Tablet Daclastavir 60mg is expected to arrive in the first week of November. Nonetheless, there is still enough medicine for patients who are currently being treated (for the liver disease).
“One can rest assured that the Health Ministry will continue treatment for Hepatitis C and is always proactive to ensure patients will get the necessary treatment in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s target of elimininating Hepatitis C by 2030,” he said in a statement today.
Dr Noor Hisham said this in response to a news report claiming that about 2,000 treatments allocated for Hepatitis C patients at government hospitals for this year had been used up.
Positive Malaysian Treatment Access and Advocacy Group (MTAAG+) director Edward Low was quoted as saying the Health Ministry had made the medication available at 22 government hospitals nationwide but the 2,000 treatments had been used up as of Oct 1.
Low said new stock must be replenished to ensure Malaysia could meet WHO’s target.
WHO has described hepatitis C as a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus. Globally, the WHO estimates 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C infection and sa ignificant number of those who are chronically infected will develop cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Approximately 399,000 people die each year from hepatitis C, mostly from cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.