We worked with patient groups, clinical experts and Parliamentarians to develop support for the treatment of the blood borne virus, hepatitis C (HCV). This programme began considerably before the HTA process, to allow for the development of strong relationships and greater awareness of the particular challenges facing this patient population. This meant that when NICE showed reluctance to allow patients to access the treatment at the Appraisal Committee Decision (ACD) stage, there was a broad coalition of stakeholders in place to respond to consultations and to call for access to the treatment.
We supported this process by assisting our client with strategic advice, bespoke briefings and a rapid response engagement campaign. On the back of this activity, NICE overturned its original ACD and recommended the treatment for use in a much larger group of patients than originally anticipated.
One of the key issues in HCV is the impact the virus has on patients in the South Asian community, who are unlikely to seek diagnosis and care due to the social stigma attached to it. We also helped our client to raise awareness of the importance of getting tested for HCV by working with charities and Parliamentarians including disease awareness events in both Westminster and the Scottish parliament.