MTAAG+ group seeks better treatment for patients

PETALING JAYA: With many Hepatitis C patients still not getting the latest highly effective treatment, an NGO has urged the Government to increase access to treatment for those at risk.

Positive Malaysian Treatment Access and Advocacy Group (MTAAG+) director Edward Low said a patient had informed the group that he was offered the drug PEG-Interferon for treatment, which was obsolete in advanced countries.

“We are concerned that the treatment for co-infection groups, especially People Living with HIV (PLHIV), has been delayed,” he said in conjunction with World Hepatitis Day 2018 today..

Due to the delay in treatment, Low said a patient died last month as her liver had turned cancerous.

He added that the patient took PEG-Interferon two years ago but stopped when he could not tolerate the treatment.

Low also pointed out that those on Highly Active Anti-Retrovirus Therapy (HAART) needed stronger dosage – daclatasvir 90mg.

He said PLHIV had not started the treatment in government hospitals as the 30mg daclatasvir tablet, which is supposed to be added to the 60mg dosage to increase its potency, was not available, adding that doctors did not allow a 60mg tablet to be cut into half.

Low said they had to wait until November for the 30mg pill to arrive.

He said it was best for patients to be treated as early as possible to avoid complications later, and urged those at high risk of having Hepatitis C to get screened.

“We believe that in scaling up screening and with better treatment, we will be able to eliminate Hepatitis by 2030,” he said.

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