by Karyn Kaplan
The current standard of care for HCV is pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin. Yet in most countries, this treatment is unaffordable to all but the wealthiest people. In order to stimulate price reductions and increase access, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has submitted an application to include PEG-IFN on the WHO’s Essential Medicines List (EML).
The WHO EML is considered a global standard. Many governments refer to the EML when making decisions on health spending. A drug on the list may be more likely to be prioritized for coverage under a national health care scheme.
TAG has created a simple guidance for organizations to write a letter of support for this important effort. Organizations such as patient groups, professional associations, regional or global adovcacy networks, governmental agencies, or national research institutes can submit. Deadline for submission is mid-February 2013. The letter should highlight the HCV epidemiology in your country/region, and how inclusion of PEG-IFN on the EML would increase treatment access and impact the epidemic. The WHO committee is technical, and responds to evidence-based information rather than political arguments.
More background information and sample letters are online at: www.treatmentactiongroup.org/hcv/pegifn-who-eml-supportletter.