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J Clin Transl Hepatol. 2016 Jun 28;4(2):76-82. doi: 10.14218/JCTH.2016.00011. Epub 2016 Jun 15.

Accessibility to Oral Antiviral Therapy for Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C in the United States.

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Department of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA; Department of Surgery, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Department of Surgery, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.



Hepatitis C (HCV) direct acting antiviral agents (DAAs) are safe, effective, and tolerable. Most contraindications to interferon-based treatment are no long applicable. The aims of this study were to understand the predictors of approval to drug accessibility.


We studied all consecutive patients with HCV prescribed DAAs between October 2014 and July 2015. Data on demographic, socio-economic status, comorbidities, baseline laboratory values, and assessment of liver disease severity, insurance, and specialty pharmacy type were collected. Multivariate analyses were performed to identify predictors of prescription approval.


In total, 410 patients were prescribed DAAs between October 2014 and July 2015. Of those, 332 (81%) patients were insurance approved for therapy. Of the 332 patients accepted, 251 were accepted after the first prescription attempt, and 38 were accepted after the second and third attempts. The number of attempts for the other 43 approved patients was unknown. Older age (p = 0.001), employment (p = 0.001), lack of comorbidities (p = 0.02), liver transplantation (p = 0.018), and advanced liver disease (p = 0.001) were more likely associated with obtaining approval. Household income was not associated with insurance approval. In the multivariate analysis, Medicare insurance (odds ratio [OR]) 2.67, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.96-7.20), lack of nonliver comorbidities (OR 2.72, 95% CI 1.35-5.43), and the presence of advanced liver disease (OR 1.82, 95% CI 1.04-3.24) independently predicted drug approval.


Despite the availability of DAAs for HCV, barriers from insurance carriers continue to impair widespread use. Patients with advanced liver disease, Medicare, and without comorbidities are most likely to be insurance approved for DAAs.


Antiviral therapy; Healthcare access; Hepatitis C

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