HFQ welcomes the ministers announcement that they will now fund a new treatment for patients with severe Haemophilia A called Hemlibra (emicizumab).
Prior to this, Hemlibra was only available to patients via clinical trail or compassionate access, but the new funding means that every individual with severe FVIII deficiency will have the option to switch to Hemlibra or remain on their current treatment.
While there are several new treatment types available for people with Haemophilia A, and prospects of Gene Therapy continue to move closer, this decision will mean even greater choice for the community and we will continue to advocate for access to this and other new treatments as they become available.
Hemlibra is a bi-specific antibody which binds to both activated FIX and FX and allows the coagulation cascade to continue, and the blood to clot, in the absence of FVIII; mimicking the effect of the clotting factor VIII injections for patients with haemophilia A.
Hemlibra is manufactured and is not derived from blood products. It offers good protection against bleeding and rather than requiring vein access, it is injected subcutaneously (under the skin) once a week or once every two weeks.
This is a very significant step forward. It will provide as much protection for people with haemophilia from the risk of bleeding as current treatments and it will be much easier to administer, without the need for regular intravenous injections and we hope to see a similar product for haemophilia B in the near future.
Once stocks are established in Australia (expected December 2020), this product will be discussed as a therapy with all patients of the QHC with severe haemophilia A to see if it is a suitable therapy for them, and that roll out may take time to allow for these discussions and the management of switching products for individuals who choose to swap and are under the care of the Haemophilia Centres in Queensland. As this is a new treatment, it is really important that the Queensland Haemophilia centre team can monitors people taking this treatment and that they know when people are having bleeds or any other complications, so It is very important that people using Hemlibra continue to use MyABDR, just as they do with their current factor replacement therapy.
To read the Ministers press release please click here