POST Online Media Lite Edition


Nearly 90% of Coloradans diagnosed with Hepatitis C go untreated

Staff writer |
A new report from the Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC) finds that most Coloradans with the Hepatitis C virus are not being treated for what can be a serious, long-term chronic liver infection.

The analysis also found that in spite of availability of new revolutionary drugs, 89 percent of Coloradans in with Hepatitis C did not receive any treatment for their condition.

The study analyzed claims data from the Colorado All Payer Claims Database (CO APCD) for the commercially insured (excluding those on self-insured plans), Medicaid and Medicare Advantage members in 2013 and 2014.

Until recently, the most common treatment for Hepatitis C had significant side effects and was difficult for many patients to tolerate.

At the end of 2013, oral medications with fewer serious side effects became available that not only treat but eliminate symptoms.

Sovaldi was the first medication to hit the market, and later in 2014, Harvoni became available as the first drug that could eliminate symptoms without the need for a second drug. Both Solvadi and Harvoni have made headlines for being among the most expensive drugs sold in America.

In 2013, four percent of Coloradans received medication for Hepatitis C prior to the release of the new treatments.

When the new drugs entered the marketplace, the number of Coloradans receiving drug treatment increased substantially, with seven percent on the new treatment and four percent remaining on the old regimen.

With only 11 percent of the affected population on medication, nearly 90 percent of Coloradans with the condition are still not receiving any treatment as part of their health care insurance benefit.

The analysis does not reflect Coloradans who may have received medication but paid out-of-pocket or received treatment through a financial assistance program.