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Canadian Health Care Model Might Not Be Best for HCV Sufferers

Mar 11, 2010 - 2 comments
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I just read an Canadian news article posted on HCV Advocate that saddened and angered me a bit.

http://www.hcvadvocate.org/news/newsRev/2010/NewsRev-351.html#_Hep_C_Sufferers

When I read what some people were doing in Canada in order to qualify for HCV TX, I was really saddened that this is happening. I noted that in the Canadian system, those without evidence of liver damage from the disease are not allowed access to treatment for hepatitis C. Certainly this should not apply to genotype 2 & 3 patients, who have excellent odds of being cured by treatment and not being exposed to the risk of advanced disease and HCC. I am not certain, but I am led to believe the rule applies to all HCV sufferes.

I also noted that those who failed a previous treatment (like me), would not be allowed another chance at treatment in Canada. I could not help but think of the many folks here on this forum who have failed HCV treatments and would be left to face the prospect of hoping for a liver transplant as they sink into ESLD. I was more than a little saddened. It does not make sense from an ethical or economical point of view.

What made me angry is the realization that this kind of bureaucratic torpor is intrinsic in most any government-run program. What is more is that it is being forced on the citizens by a group of people (Congress) that would exempt themselves from the requirements that they would impose on the rest of us. These are requirements that can literally be the difference between life and death.

At least that is my perception, and it is also what I fear in regard to the prospect of socialized medicine being forced on the U.S. public.

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by belle64, Sep 30, 2010
Hi IAm The Walrus,
That is a very surprising article.  I always thought highly of the Canadian health system.  You would think the HCV patients without evidence of liver damage would be prime targets for treatment over those that do have liver damage.

Do you think that as our country goes through the healthcare reform that treatments for HCV and other diseases will be harder to get approval for and receive?

Belle64

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by debpar, Oct 21, 2010
Hi, I tried the link and it wouldn't come up ... I do remember a news story about this not too long ago.  Wish I knew exactly what was in the one you read, but from what you're saying, something doesn't sound quite right to me.  From my personal experience it's simply not true.  My specialist has put me on every new treatment available without delay and I have been on treatment four times, even though a nonresponder and even though I've had liver damage.  My understanding is that once you reach decompensated cirrhosis, it's too late for treatment.  I do know doctors are reluctant to put people in treatment who are still using drugs or drinking and that could be the reason for some of the troubles people have had getting treatment.  Canadian news reports are as sensationalized as anywhere these days and it takes some digging to get to the real truth.  The method for determining who gets a liver transplant is stringent for the same reason it is worldwide ... there aren't enough organs to go around.   I agree with my specialist who says to try and live with the old liver as long as possible  ... although he is very cognizant of quality of life, too, and will balance that decision when/if the time comes.  I never have to pay for any of my care ... and I believe in the Canadian health care system absolutely - flawed as it is.  I believe some of this is propoganda from those who want to privatize health care in Canada and turn it into a big money making machine.  Neither system works without flaw, that's for sure!!!  Please don't believe it all ... many of us still get excellent personalized, free health care that saves lives daily.  As usual a small minority make it into the news (did the article present both sides?).  That's my perception ... and my experience in living here ... but we're all entitled to our opinion.  I have excellent care and follow up, never have to save my money for treatment or anything else like blood tests, and if, God forbid, I need a liver transplant, it's covered.  I am extremely grateful to live here and for our health care system.

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