Prof Zeuzem opened the symposium by acknowledging that there is a new era in hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment, due to the availability of efficacious treatments that could eradicate the disease. Prof Pawlotsky outlined recent advances in the field of HCV and discussed the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) Recommendations on Treatment of Hepatitis C 2015, which were released at the congress. These recommendations prioritise the available HCV treatments in Europe, from treatment-naïve to treatment-experienced patients and in the context of patients with various stages of HCV disease, and highlight the need to remain vigilant for possible drug–drug interactions (DDIs) between HCV direct-acting antiviral agent (DAA) treatments and regular pharmaceutical medications. Dr Bourlière then described the remaining challenges in HCV relating to treatment of certain patient populations, such as those with advanced disease and specific contraindications. Prof Foster presented the real-life challenges of treating a patient population that can have heterogeneous characteristics and presented the recent outcomes of nationally implemented programmes for HCV. Mr Charles Gore, a patient advocate, described the World Health Organization (WHO) policies in HCV and highlighted that government lobbying by physicians and patients was required to improve awareness and prioritise HCV treatment. Prof Afdhal then summarised the current impact of HCV on productiveness and patient outcomes, and spoke about the benefits of patient access programmes in expanding the pool of patients who can be treated along with the cost implications of the global eradication of HCV. Finally, Prof Zeuzem emphasised how HCV is currently perceived as a lower global priority compared with other viral diseases and that lobbying will be required to demonstrate how investments into the treatment of HCV patients would dramatically reduce the prevalence and long-term costs of the disease.
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