Atlantic Member Meeting a great success, more advocacy follow ups, World Hepatitis Day plans, and more.
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AHC Update

June 2016

For those of you who weren't there, we had a great 1.5 days of meetings in Halifax! It was a really great opportunity to connect with new members, and long-standing members that we had never met yet in person. We are awaiting the final report which we will share when it comes available, but there were many good ideas and perspectives that came out of those sessions that will have immediate impact on our plans for this year and beyond. Other than the weather and the parking, we couldn't have asked for a better trip. Many thanks to all who participated!

The Steering Committee stuck around for an extra day to bang out some decisions and work plan revisions mid-year, and eat a donair before leaving town. Overall it was a very important and productive 3 days for the AHC.

CDEC's Updated Recommendations present Provincial/Territorial Advocacy Opportunities:

Last month we reported that CADTH had updated their recommendations on the four curative HCV medicines that are currently approved in Canada for use on patients F0 and up, rather than F2 or higher - ie, fibrosis levels should not be an eligibility factor for treatment. (BTW, this is in line with AHC's Position paper released last November.)

In early June the CDEC (Canadian Drug Expert Committee) released THEIR updated recommendations to be in line with those of CADTH. 

As a follow up, our Policy Analyst Claire is preparing some letters to the provinces and territories, (except BC, PEI and QC) letting them know about the update, as many provinces indicate that they use the CDEC recommendations to set their own formularies. This gives us a good advocacy lever to yank on to have fibrosis scores removed completely as an eligibility factor for treatment.

If you would like support in helping to prep a friendly MPP or MLA to raise this issue in your province, let us know, we would be happy to help. 
Ontario Members: Please alert your MPP to BILL 216: The Greater Access to Hepatitis C Treatment Act.
AHC worked with MPP Sylvia Jones to bring forward this bill. It was tabled in provincial parliament just before the break, and calls upon Ontario to make HCV treatment accessible to patients, regardless of liver damage. 
View the bill here.
Tainted Blood Victims in court this week over $236M surplus in Compensation Fund
On Monday, June 20, the court case began to decide what will happen to the $236M left in the compensation fund for those who received tainted blood between 1986-1990. The Government of Canada wants the money returned to the general budget, while some feel it should be divied up as top ups to those who received compensation already. Still others believe it should be used to fund HCV treatment for those on the waitlists. The court case is expected to last for months. Many of you have signed the petition from the Canadian Hemophilia Society, so we will continue to update you on developments in this case.

World Hepatitis Day

The AHC will be launching an e-petition on World Hepatitis Day, July 28th, through the Parliamentary website. With 500 signatures, the government will be forced to discuss our petition for a strategy that offers federal leadership to the provinces and territories toward the elimination of hepatitis C by 2030. Stay tuned for more details on this, as well as another campaign in the fall that we are really hoping you will engage in!

The World Hepatitis Alliance is hosting a Knowledge for Change Webinar Series. Recordings are posted to YouTube:

Recorded Webinar: Access to Diagnostics available here.

The next webinar in the Knowledge for Change series is An Introduction to Access to Medicines which will be held at 14:00 BST on Tuesday 12 July. Register here.
Here is a great, concise video that you can share through your social media channels, perhaps as part of your World Hepatitis Day materials, about the NOHep Campaign, and the Global Viral Hepatitis Strategy which was adopted unanimously by all 194 member states of the World Health Organization at the end of May. 

Health Minister grants request for MSM Deferral to be shortened from 5 yrs to 1 yr

While not hepatitis-related neccesarily, some of you may find this announcement of interest for your organization and for your clients. On Monday the Health Minister announced that she has approved the request of Canadian Blood Services (and Hema-Quebec) to shorten the blood donation deferral for MSM, that is, men who have sex with men, from 5 yrs to 1 yr, as one step towards blood donation referrals that are behaviour-based and gender neutral, and non-discriminatory, while still protecting the safety of our blood supply. You can read the press release here.
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