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This Issue: Chronic Disease Care | Table of Contents: Spring 2016 |

In the News

VA expanding hepatitis C drug treatment

New Jersey Today was among a number of newspapers reporting on VA's announcement that the department is now able to fund care for all Veterans with hepatitis C for fiscal year 2016, regardless of the stage of the patient's liver disease.

The paper cited a VA news release that quoted Dr. David Shulkin, VA's under secretary for health, as saying that "we are honored to expand treatment for Veterans who are afflicted with hepatitis C. To manage limited resources previously, we established treatment priority for the sickest patients. Additionally, if Veterans are currently waiting on an appointment for community care through the choice program or can elect to continue to receive treatment through the Choice program."

New Jersey Today noted that in addition to furnishing clinical care to Veterans with hepatitis C, VA research is continuing to expand the knowledge base regarding the disease through scientific studies focused on effective care, screening, and health care delivery—including to female Veterans and Veterans with complicated medical conditions in addition to hepatitis C.

VA has treated more than 76,000 Veterans infected with hepatitis C and approximately 60,000 have been cured. Since the beginning of 2014, more than 42,000 patients have been treated with new, highly effective antiviral medications.

In fiscal year 2015, VA allocated $696 million for new hepatitis C drugs, which is 17 percent of VA's total pharmacy budget. In fiscal year 2016, VA anticipates spending approximately $1 billion on hepatitis C drugs.

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