Charities and doctors criticise NHS England delays to hepatitis C treatment

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt must intervene to overturn attempts by NHS England to severely limit the number of people with hepatitis C receiving life-saving treatments, 14 charities and top liver doctors have written to him to say.

The letter voices growing concern about NHS England's series of seemingly unprecedented requests for the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to delay patients' access to a new generation of hepatitis C drugs on grounds of affordability, despite NICE having ruled favourably on the cost-effectiveness of Sofosbuvir and despite being midway through appraisals for a range of other highly tolerable new treatments.

The Hepatitis C Trust has brought together 13 other charities and Hepatologists, including the National Aids Trust, the Haemophilia Society, and a number of liver disease and drug treatment charities, to call for urgent intervention by the Government to ensure NHS England does not continue in its attempts to severely limit access to hepatitis C treatments. 

The Chief Executive of The Hepatitis C Trust, Charles Gore, who organised the letter, said NHS England's arguments for delaying treatment were 'absolutely ridiculous' given the money that would be saved in preventing rather than treating the disease.

The Independent's coverage of our calls can be read here:

Download the full letter sent to Jeremy Hunt below.