New Hep C treatment tops formulary spending list

New Hep C treatment tops formulary spending list

Ministry of Health recommends NIS 300 million worth of medications to be subsidized by state in 2015

Illustrative photo of pharmaceutical pills (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of pharmaceutical pills (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

The Ministry of Health published Tuesday a list of drugs, medications and new treatments set to be fully or partially subsidized by the state in the year 2015. A special Health Ministry committee debated the formulary for several weeks, finally selecting the treatments late Monday night from nearly NIS 3 billion (about $860 million) worth of medications.

The committee’s recommendations are expected to be passed into law in early 2015.

Close to NIS 300 million (close to $86 million) will be allocated towards the various medications, with nearly a third of the budget dedicated to a new treatment for Hepatitis C.

“This is a treatment that can completely eradicate the disease,” a committee member said of the Hepatitis C medication, according to the Walla news site. “It is a groundbreaking discovery, worthy of a Nobel Prize.”

The new subsided treatment for Hepatitis C, a disease which can cause great damage to the liver, is based on providing the patient with Sofosbuvir pills, known by the brand name Sovaldi, along with various other medications. Studies have shown that the new treatment results in an over 92% success rate, with patients showing no symptoms of the infectious liver disease and the virus disappearing from the patient’s body after only several weeks of taking the pill.

Medical researchers estimate that about 1.5% of the Israeli population is currently infected with the Hepatitis C virus.

Other treatments that were listed in the formulary include oncology drugs for the treatment of leukemia and skin cancer, communication computers for the speech impaired, pertussis vaccines for pregnant women, and annual screening tests to detect aortic aneurysms.

However, almost all diabetes treatments were left out of the list, as well as most medications aimed at relieving mental health conditions.

Adiv Sterman contributed this report.

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