In the Philippines, Hepatitis B is said to be the leading cause of liver damage resulting in liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. At least one out of 10 people is a carrier of Hepatitis B. It is estimated that more than 7.7 million people are chronically infected with Hepatitis B, of whom between 1.1 and 1.9 million are expected to die prematurely of cirrhosis or liver cancer.
This makes chronic Hepatitis B one of the most challenging infectious diseases to manage.
About 4 million Hepatitis B patients can get treatment but the reality is, many of them cannot afford it.
In response to calls for access to Hepatitis B treatment, multinational pharmaceutical company Roche Philippines has partnered with the Hepatology Society of the Philippines, to launch the Pegassist Easy Access Plan for patients with Hepatitis B.
Through the plan, Hepatitis B patients can have access to the peg-interferon alfa-2a hepatitis treatment medication with discounts up to as much as 50 percent.
Dr. Dennis Dioko, Roche specialty business unit director, said there are several ways patients can find out if they can qualify for discounts through the Pegassist Easy Access Plan. First, if they are seeing a gastroenterologist, their doctor can refer them to the hepatitis hotline. If they are not currently seeing a doctor, they can call the hotline directly and the hotline can refer them to a gastroenterologist nearest them for consultation.
“After Hepatitis B patients call the hotline–manned by the Hepatitis Hotline nurse—and have already been prescribed Peg interferon alfa-2a by their doctors, they will be referred to a financial assessment agency. Once the financial assessment has been completed, the agency will decide how much discount the patient is eligible to receive. Patients can get as much as a 50 percent discount,” he said.
According to him, patients will also be provided with free selected Hepatitis B laboratory tests that would have otherwise been very expensive.. They can have access to such tests as HBV DNA Testing and S-quantification.
Through the Pegassist Easy Access Plan, treatment and care can become available to a wider range of Hepatitis B patients and give them the opportunity to get the medication they need.
The Yellow Warriors Society of the Philippines is fully committed to their advocacy of promoting a healthy and productive society by fighting Hepatitis B, preventing it, eradicating prejudices and discrimination, disseminating information of treatment and care, and diminishing suffering through advocacy, research, and education.
Awareness is the key step and to promote their cause even further, the Yellow Warriors Society of the Philippines and the HSP are hosting a run titled “Run for Liver: 12 minus 1, making a difference” today at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center. There will be free rapid HBsAg testing for the first 200 run participants.
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 27, 2011