Disparate access to treatment regimens in chronic hepatitis C patients: Data from the TRIO network

Zobair M. Younossi*, B. R. Bacon, D. T. Dieterich, S. L. Flamm, K. Kowdley, S. Milligan, N. Tsai, A. Nezam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Despite the clinical success in the real-world of all oral hepatitis C virus (HCV) therapy with response rates approaching that seen in the clinical trials, access has been limited by many payers with discussion of prioritization of treatment based upon AASLD guidelines. We evaluated patients in the TRIO network who were prescribed sofosbuvir (SOF)-based regimens to determine reasons for not starting treatment. Trio Health is a disease management company that works in partnership with academic medical centres, community physicians and specialty pharmacies in the United States to optimize care for HCV. Data for 3841 patients prescribed a sofosbuvir-containing regimen between December 2013 and September 2014 were obtained through this programme. Of the entire group, 315 (8%) patients did not start the prescribed sofosbuvir-containing therapy. A total of 141 (45%) of the nonstart patients had a commercial plan as their primary insurance, 137 (44%) were primarily covered by Medicaid, 17 (5%) were primarily covered by Medicare, and 20 (6%) were either without coverage or coverage was not specified. Reasons for nonstarts were varied and overlapping. Only 15 patients (5% of nonstarts) did not start because they were unreachable or failed to complete required testing. Another 39 patients who did not start (12%) were following their physicians' direction to either wait for new treatment options or to hold treatment for an unspecified reason. Insurance-related processes and financial reasons accounted for 254 (81%) of the 315 nonstarts. The remaining 7 (2%) patients did not have a specified reason for not starting treatment. Nonstart rates were highest in the Medicaid-covered population at 35%. Medicare and Commercial nonstart rates were 2% and 6%, respectively. In a matched comparison, patients with commercial coverage were 6.5 times as likely to start SOF-based therapy compared to patients with Medicaid. Despite high SVR rates of SOF-based regimens in clinical practice, there are still barriers to access to care. In fact, almost half of the nonstart patients had advanced fibrosis scores (F3 or F4) and should have been prioritized to start treatment. As better treatment for HCV with high efficacy and low side effect rates become available, the disparity in access to treatment, as evidenced by the high nonstart rate in the Medicaid-covered group, must be resolved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-454
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Viral Hepatitis
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • hepatitis C virus
  • insurance
  • medicaid
  • medicare

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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