Community Pharmacy Training for Hepatitis C Treatments available in May
The first community pharmacy training to understand and dispense the new direct acting antiviral (DAA) oral regimens for Hepatitis C will be available in May. The education will support community pharmacists planning to dispense the new oral regimens to some of the more than 230,000 people living with hepatitis C1.
Debbie Rigby, consultant clinical pharmacist, Professor Lisa Nissen and Chris Campbell, Business Development Manager, Terry White Chemists Group have developed the CPD accredited education package designed specifically for community pharmacy.
“As GPs, in consultation with a specialist, will be able to write scripts for the new DAAs, community pharmacists are keen to become fully educated on hepatitis C and the new class of drugs,” Debbie Rigby said.
“Hepatitis C has long been heavily stigmatised and misunderstood. The new treatments will likely see pharmacists engaging with patients who are talking about their condition for the first time.
“The PBS listing of the treatments is just the first step. Now the focus in pharmacies must be to educate pharmacists and pharmacy assistants to be confident in supporting patients and dispensing the treatments,” Debbie Rigby said.
Chris Campbell, Business Development Manager, Terry White Chemists Group agrees pharmacists can play an important role in raising public awareness.
“Increasing treatment rates with the availability of the direct-acting antivirals heralds a new era in hepatitis C, with the real possibility of a cure2.
“Pharmacies across Australia are encouraged to enrol their teams in the training and start talking to local tertiary liver clinics, identifying key prescribers in their area and ensuring good communication with their patients as part of their role in supporting patient adherence,” Chris Campbell said.
Debbie Rigby, Professor Lisa Nissen and Chris Campbell presented the session ‘New treatments for Hepatitis C – are you ready?’ at the 2016 APP conference in parallel with developing the CPD accredited education package.
Supported by AbbVie, the program will be available to all pharmacists in May 2016 on the Australian College of Pharmacy website. The education will cover all aspects of Hepatitis C from causes and demographics to a review of all available treatments.
1 Fourth National Hepatitis C Strategy 2014–2017. Australian Government Department of Health. 2014.
2 Asselah T, Boyer N, Saadoun D, et al. Review Article: Direct-acting antivirals for the treatment of hepatitis C virus infection: optimizing current IFN-free treatment and future perspectives. Liver International. 2016;36 (Suppl. S1):47-57.