With the emergence of new therapies that have transformed chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment, public health experts now believe that it is possible to eliminate the disease. HCV elimination could have a tremendous impact on global health, averting the nearly 400,000 deaths from HCV-related complications each year. To help inspire global action, the World Health Organization (WHO) set an ambitious goal of eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030.
At Gilead, we are working toward this target by actively supporting the efforts of governments, patient organizations, payers and healthcare providers to increase awareness, drive screening and facilitate linkage to care. Since 2013, more than 1.7 million people living with HCV in low- and middle-income countries have been treated with Gilead HCV regimens.
“While we are encouraged by the recent progress in reducing the global burden of HCV, more work needs to be done to achieve elimination by 2030," says Gregg Alton, Chief Patient Officer. “Continued partnership to build stronger health systems, reduce stigma and increase widespread screening and access to care will help make HCV a disease of the past.”
Gilead’s efforts to address these system challenges include:
- National Elimination Programs: In 2015, Gilead helped launch the Georgian HCV Elimination Project in partnership with the Georgian government and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Through this program, one of the first of its kind in the world, more than 60,000 people have been screened for HCV and more than 43,000 people have been treated as of March 2018. Similar programs are underway in Cameroon, Egypt, Iceland, India, Malta, Mongolia, Rwanda and the Netherlands.
- Implementation Research: Gilead is supporting 78 investigator-sponsored research programs on HCV screening and linkage to care worldwide. These research partners apply data collection, modeling and analysis to identify the most effective approaches to HCV screening and treatment, particularly among high-risk communities.
- Routine Screening: In the United States, Gilead supports HCV screening and linkage to care through FOCUS, an initiative to encourage routine HCV screening in healthcare settings. The FOCUS Program is a public health initiative that aims to decrease the stigma underlying viral testing and diagnosis and bring HCV screening and linkage to care into alignment with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF), and state and local health department guidelines.
- Strategic Giving: Our corporate giving programs complement our other partnerships by reducing disparities, expanding access and advancing education. For example, we fund a first-of-its-kind HCV elimination program in the Cherokee Nation. We also support organizations that provide services for people living with HCV and advocate for HCV elimination, including the World Hepatitis Alliance and National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable.
To learn more about the ways in which Gilead supports HCV elimination, available at this link is a poster presented at International Viral Hepatitis Elimination Meeting (IVHEM), held on November 17-18, 2017 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.