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Access to Treatment for Hepatitis B Virus Infection — Worldwide, 2016
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  • Pubmed ID:
    30025413
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC6054001
  • Description:
    Worldwide, an estimated 257 million persons are living with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection (1). To achieve the World Health Organization (WHO) goals for elimination of HBV infection worldwide by 2030, defined by WHO as 90% reduction in incidence and 65% reduction in mortality, access to treatment will be crucial. WHO estimated the care cascade* for HBV infection, globally and by WHO Region. The patent and licensing status of entecavir and tenofovir, two WHO-recommended medicines for HBV treatment, were examined using the Medicines Patent Pool MedsPaL| database. The international price of tenofovir was estimated using WHO's global price reporting mechanism (GPRM), and for entecavir from a published study (2). In 2016, among the estimated 257 million persons infected with HBV worldwide, approximately 27 million (10.5%) were aware of their infection, an estimated 4.5 million (16.7%) of whom were on treatment. In 2017, all low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) could legally procure generic entecavir, and all but two LMICs could legally procure generic tenofovir. The median price of WHO-prequalified generic tenofovir on the international market fell from $208 per year in 2004 to $32 per year in 2016. In 2015, the lowest reported price of entecavir was $427 per year of treatment (2). Increased availability of generic antivirals effective in treating chronic HBV infection has likely improved access to treatment. Taking advantage of reductions in price of antivirals active against HBV infection could further increase access to treatment. Regular analysis of the hepatitis B treatment care cascade can assist in monitoring progress toward HBV elimination goals.

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