Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Several new-generation drugs for hepatitis C treatment will be covered by the health insurance fund as part of a recently-released circular by the Ministry of Health.
"After consulting with experts and leading hospitals, the health and insurance sector agreed to bring new drugs for hepatitis C treatment into the list of medicine covered by health insurance fund,” said Director of the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases, Prof. Nguyễn Văn Kính.
Kính said that the new medications help shorten treatment duration because they are effective and have fewer side effects.
“The inclusion of new drugs to treat hepatitis C on the list covered by health insurance opens more opportunities for Vietnamese patients to access advanced treatments," Kính said.
The health ministry’s Preventive Medicine Department’s deputy director Nguyễn Trọng Khoa said Việt Nam ranks 4th in the world in terms of mortality from liver cancer. The country has about 1 million people infected with the hepatitis C virus and 10 million infected with hepatitis B, so the community’s need for treatment services is increasing day by day.
"The practice is an important milestone to achieve the goal to eliminate hepatitis by 2030 and reduce the burden of liver diseases in Việt Nam,” said Khoa. “Hepatitis C and hepatitis B are the main causes of liver diseases in Việt Nam.”
Antiviral medicines can cure more than 95 per cent of people with hepatitis C, thereby reducing the risk of death from liver cancer and cirrhosis, but access to diagnosis and treatment is low, according to Khoa.
Khoa said the ministry also worked with foreign pharmaceutical companies to franchise drug production and boost production in Việt Nam at a cheaper price, creating favourable conditions for patients to access treatments for liver diseases.
Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus, according to the World Health Organisation.
The health body stated that some 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C infections globally whereas about 399,000 people die each year from hepatitis C, mostly from cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. — VNS