OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Health Care Authority says it has launched an initiative to cure SoonerCare members who have been diagnosed with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). 

Health officials say Mavyret® (glecaprevir/pibrentasvir) is now the preferred direct-acting antiviral (DAA) medication for HCV and is available without prior authorization for SoonerCare members to allow for easier access.

“This medication can be lifesaving for many SoonerCare members suffering from HCV. I am proud we can help these Oklahomans by providing direct-acting antiviral medications, which will improve their health outcomes,” said Kevin Corbett, OHCA CEO and Secretary of Health and Mental Health.

Hepatitis contributes to nearly 14,000 U.S. deaths a year and fewer than one in three people infected with hepatitis C get treatment, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study found less than a third of people with health insurance get the hepatitis C medicines within a year of diagnosis.

Approximately 4,200 SoonerCare members reported living with HCV in 2020.

“Other HCV DAA medications are still covered by SoonerCare as they have been in the past, however, they continue to require prior authorization,” said health officials. “SoonerCare members are encouraged to talk with their health care provider to see if they are at risk of getting hepatitis C and if they should be tested.”

Mavyret® is FDA approved to treat adult and pediatric patients 3 years of age and older. Mavyret® is the only DAA available without a PA and treats most types of hepatitis C, usually in 8 weeks. Some people may take longer to be cured, however, Mavyret has a 96-98% cure rate.