1MD, MPharm, BSc, Resident Doctor at Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, NSW; Adjunct Lecturer, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney, NSW.
2MSc, Epidemiologist, Epidemiology Unit, The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Melbourne, Vic.
3PhD, MSc(Epi), BSc(Hons), ATCL, Epidemiologist, Rural Clinical School, The University of Notre Dame, Lithgow, NSW.
4MBBS, PhD, Medical Epidemiologist,@Department of Infectious Diseases, University of@Melbourne, Melbourne, Vic.
Background and objectives: Hepatitis C virus treatment uptake varies by geographic area in Australia; however, analysis has not been conducted on variations in treatment completion. This study investigated treatment completion according to remoteness, as well as demographic and clinical characteristics.
Method: A retrospective analysis was conducted on all Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme claim data from March 2016 to June 2019. Treatment was considered completed if all prescriptions required to complete the course were dispensed. Treatment completion was compared by remoteness of residence, sex, age, state or territory, treatment duration and prescriber type.
Results: Of 68,940 patients, 85.6% completed treatment, although the completion rate decreased over time. Residents living in very remote areas had the lowest treatment completion rate (74.3%; odds ratio [OR] 0.52; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.39, 0.7; P < 0.005), particularly those treated by general practitioners (GPs; 66.7%; OR 0.47; 95% CI: 0.22, 0.97; P = 0.042).
Discussion: This analysis suggests that people in very remote areas of Australia have the lowest hepatitis C treatment completion rate, particularly those accessing treatment through GPs. Further investigation into predictors of low treatment completion within these populations is required.