The hepatitis C conundrum: balancing cost and affordability


An estimated 2–3% of the world’s population is living with hepatitis C virus (HCV) – a condition that, when left untreated, can cause life-threatening damage to the liver. In recent years, the licencing of ‘new’ HCV drugs has offered hope for those affected, presenting the possibility of not only having a normal life expectancy but a cure.

Unfortunately, these modern treatments have instead acted as a catalyst for drug pricing hitting the headlines, with confusion and uncertainty around how best to fund them. A recent example of this was NHS England’s controversial verdict to restrict access to Gilead’s Harvoni to just 10,000 people per year – only for cost-effectiveness regulator NICE to publish positive draft guidance for Gilead’s other HCV drug, Epclusa, only two months later.

The situation has resulted in payers having to re-think their approach to balancing access to highly effective drugs with their high costs, despite regulators deeming them cost-effective.

Working with QuintilesIMS, we present a digital debate which will offer modelling-based insights, showing that increased access to these drugs may, in fact, deliver greater cost efficiency, in contrast to the restrictive approach taken both in the UK and globally.

Key topics to be discussed include:

  • The burden of HCV
  • The current market landscape
  • The current patient access model and its impact on budget
  • Cost efficiencies demonstrated by modelling
  • Cure versus lifetime treatment costs

The took place on Tuesday 22 November at 15.30 GMT / 16.30 CET. To view the on-demand version, please click here or on the button above/below.


Natasha Martin UCSF

Dr Natasha Martin
Associate Professor, Division of Global Public Health, University of California San Diego

Dr Martin is an infectious disease and economic modeller with over 15 years of experience modelling biological systems. She earned her doctoral degree in mathematical biology from the University of Oxford, and undergraduate degree in mathematics and biology from Stanford University. Following her doctorate, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Bristol and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Dr Martin’s work focusses on using dynamic epidemic modelling to evaluate the impact and cost-effectiveness of HIV, HCV, and HBV prevention interventions among high-risk populations such as people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men, and incarcerated populations. She is one of the leading researchers examining the potential impact and cost-effectiveness of HCV treatment as prevention. Currently, she is engaged in a number of HIV and HCV intervention evaluation trials in international settings such as Mozambique, India, Kenya, Ukraine, Mexico, Australia, and the UK.

Ashley PitcherAshley Pitcher
Engagement Manager, Real-World Evidence Solutions, QuintilesIMS

Dr Ashley Pitcher is a mathematician turned health economist and management consultant. She received her doctoral degree in mathematics from the University of Oxford (focussing on mathematical modelling) and undergraduate degree in applied mathematics from Western University. Before joining QuintilesIMS, she spent two years working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre d’Analyse et de Mathématique Sociales in Paris. Since joining QuintilesIMS more than five years ago, Ashley has been involved in a wide range of projects covering a diverse set of therapy areas and has a particularly keen interest in modelling the impact of treatment and prevention for infectious diseases.

Sarah Rickwood best photo

Sarah Rickwood
Director, Thought Leadership, QuintilesIMS

Sarah Rickwood has 20 years’ experience as a consultant to the pharmaceutical industry, having worked in Accenture’s pharmaceutical strategy practice prior to joining QuintilesIMS. She has an extremely wide experience of international pharmaceutical industry issues, having worked with most of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies on issues in the US, Europe, Japan, and leading emerging markets.

As the Director of Thought Leadership for the European Business Units, Sarah manages a highly productive team that delivers over 100 client presentations a year, and develops new thought leadership on critical topics such as launch, biosimilars, commercial analytics, healthcare system changes, blockbusters, the top 10 company of the future and uptake and access of innovative medicines. Sarah holds a degree in biochemistry from Oxford University.

Paul TunnahPaul Tunnah
CEO, pharmaphorum (moderator)

Paul Tunnah is CEO and Founder of pharmaphorum media, which facilitates productive engagement for pharma, bringing healthcare together to drive medical innovation. It combines industry-leading content and social media engagement services with the globally recognised news, information and insight portal, working with pharmaceutical companies, service providers and broader healthcare organisations to help communicate their thought leadership and connect them with relevant stakeholders.

* When you click to register for this webinar you will be taken to a website run by BrightTalk who host the webinar and gather your registration data.
This data may then be passed to pharmaphorum media limited, and in turn passed to the company(ies) we are partnering with to bring you the webinar. This data may be used by us and them for occasional marketing purposes. It will not be shared with any further third parties.
By clicking to register for this webinar you give consent for any data you provide to be used in this way.
If at any point you no longer wish to be contacted based on the information you provide during the registration for this webinar, please send an email to requesting that your information is deleted in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation.