Russia: CSOs ask Ministry of Health to provide therapy for hepatitis C to HIV patients.
CSOs ask the Ministry of Health to provide therapy for hepatitis C to HIV patients.
According to patient organisations, since mid-2022 people with HIV have been increasingly denied free hepatitis C treatment due to a shortage of drugs.
Representatives of leading socially oriented CSOs helping people with chronic viral hepatitis have sent a letter to the Russian Ministry of Health claiming that people with HIV are increasingly being denied free hepatitis C treatment due to a shortage of drugs. The letter, which is in the possession of Kommersant newspaper, requests that officials ensure the government’s obligations to treat chronic viral hepatitis C in HIV-infected patients are fulfilled.
The letter was signed by the heads of organisations such as “Together against Hepatitis”, “Status Plus”, “Patient Control”, “Alyi Parus”, “Siberian Women Plus”, “Let’s Live”, and more.
The letter states that each year about 31.5 billion roubles are allocated for therapy for HIV-infected patients, allocating funds for HIV antiretroviral therapy and drugs to treat hepatitis C (about 30% of HIV patients in Russia are infected with hepatitis C). However, since mid-2022, patient organisations across the country have reported a “significant number” of refusals to treat chronic viral hepatitis C in citizens with HIV.
The authors of the letter emphasise that these are patients who have received therapy at the expense of the federal budget for many years. They “urgently request” that the director of the Department of Pharmaceutical Provision and Regulation of the Circulation of Medical Devices, Elena Astapenko, and the director of the Federal Centre for Planning and Regulation Of Medical Supply Circulation, Elena Maksimkina, issue the necessary orders to treat hepatitis C in HIV-infected patients, in accordance with the needs approved by the Ministry of Health of Russia, and provide information on the timing and planned volume of purchases of the corresponding drugs in 2023.
The Ministry of Health told Kommersant that “HIV-infected patients with hepatitis C are provided for from the federal budget funds as part of centralised procurement” and in accordance with the schedule. In February of this year, the patient organisation “Together against Hepatitis” asked the President to review the criteria for providing medical care to patients with hepatitis C. In December 2022, Vladimir Putin stated that it was necessary to increase the volume of medicines and treatment options.
Translated by Spencer Michaels