IDSA, HIVMA call for loosening of rules on HCV treatment prescription

The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) recently called on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to review state restrictions on hepatitis C (HCV) treatments.

The organizations said that restrictions on HCV treatments must be evidence-based. They also asked that states be banned from excluding infectious diseases (ID) and HIV physicians from prescribing HCV treatment.

"ID and HIV specialists are on the front lines of hepatitis C research and treatment," Barbara Murray, the president of the IDSA, said. "Our background in understanding this disease and the therapies approved to treat it give us a level of expertise that may not be available via other medical specialties."

Curative treatments recently became available for HCV that are similar to those used to fight HIV. HCV patients are commonly co-infected with HIV.

"Due to their understanding of these therapies, my non-ID trained colleagues who are HIV specialists are also well suited to treat co-infected patients and to handle complications that may arise from therapy," Joel Gallant, the chair of HIVMA, said. "Restricting us from providing this care does a great disservice to our patients and to public health."

Approximately four million people in the U.S. are currently infected with HCV.