Every year, World Hepatitis Day represents an opportunity for communities worldwide to come together under a single theme to raise awareness of viral hepatitis. This year, the theme is ‘Hepatitis Can’t Wait’
Abarca calls on the healthcare community to take action and raise awareness to find the “missing millions” of people living with undiagnosed hepatitis so that they may seek the treatment and support they need. Through awareness, we can save lives through education on hepatitis’ prevention, diagnosis, and treatment options.
What is viral hepatitis?
At the links above, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides comprehensive information about the differences between each type, how they are spread, as well as details on prevention and treatment.
Access these links for a comprehensive recap of the 3 Main Types of Hepatitis Viruses:
- Hepatitis A can be prevented with a safe, effective vaccine.
- Many people got infected with Hepatitis B before the vaccine became widely available.
- Treatments are available that can cure Hepatitis C.
Today, it is believed that 400 million people live with viral hepatitis and are unaware that they have it. In America alone, nearly 2.4 million Americans live with the hepatitis C virus, the country’s deadliest infectious disease. Despite this reality, many state Medicaid programs still have several discriminatory restrictions that keep Americans from accessing hepatitis C treatment and prevent the country from ending the epidemic.
Working together for better care
In April of 2020, the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, a national coalition working to eliminate viral hepatitis, and the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School, acclaimed Puerto Rico for helping to remove discriminatory restrictions on access to hepatitis C treatment that were limiting more than one million Puerto Ricans who are covered by the Medicaid program from accessing life-saving medications.
In collaborative efforts made by the Puerto Rican Health Insurance Administration, Abbvie (a research-driven pharmaceutical company), and Abarca, these discriminatory barriers have been significantly reduced, increasing Puerto Rico’s rating to a “B” and formally including hepatitis C treatment in its managed care program that covers all beneficiaries. Increasing access to such treatment will help people of the island eliminate hepatitis C and improve treatment options.
As part of Abarca’s unstoppable commitment to delivering better care to underserved populations, this step forward was an excellent milestone for Puerto Rico’s healthcare system.
Abarca is proud to aid in this outstanding achievement and is committed to the work ahead. We will continue to work with local and governmental organizations to call attention to viral hepatitis in our communities and support access to the treatment programs needed.
Hepatitis can’t wait! To learn more about viral hepatitis and to access helpful resources, visit the CDC’s portal on hepatitis.
This blog was written by Tony Pérez, Pharm. D., Clinical Pharmacist at Abarca Health.