Date: Jan 17, 2020
By: Dennis Xie / Staff writer, with CNA
The National Health Insurance (NHI) covers only an average of three years of medication fees forpeople with hepatitis B, highlighting the need for people to closely monitor their condition after the cessation of drugs to prevent a relapse, National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) doctors said yesterday.
Chronic hepatitis B is a major health problem in Taiwan, with an estimated 2 million hepatitis B carriers, among whom 20 percent need medication, NTUH Gastroenterology Division attending physician Su Tung-hung (蘇東弘) told a news conference in Taipei.
Although antiviral medications are covered by the NHI, there are requirements for eligibility, and people who no longer meet those requirements, but still need the medication, have to pay for the drugs themselves, he said.
The Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver advises that if virus suppression is proved to be effective over the long term, discontinuing antiviral medications could enhance the possibility of a functional care, meaning the absence of the hepatitis B surface antigen and the presence of the surface antibody in the serum, Su said. [FULL STORY]