Pharmacy fights hep C
Kirk Penton - Feb 08, 2019 - Biz Releases

Photo: Contributed
Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran cuts the ribbon on Thursday at Specialty Rx Pharmacy.

The latest numbers indicate there are more than 7,500 people in the Interior who are suffering from hepatitis C, and there are approximately 200 to 300 new cases every year.

It’s a disease that often festers without any symptoms until it’s too late and a liver transplant is required.

That’s why Specialty Rx Solutions has opened a pharmacy on Ellis Street in downtown Kelowna. The national company is a collaborative network of pharmacists and healthcare practitioners, offering specialized treatments and integrated support services to Canadians living with chronic illnesses.

The goal is to get as many Interior residents tested for hep C as possible—especially those who are homeless or don’t have access to a family physician—and cure those who have it.

“The system is not even keeping up with the people who are newly identified, and this is in addition to over 7,500 people who are already infected and haven’t gotten treatment,” Dr. Brian Conway said.

“There really is a need to link people who are infected with the treatment that they need given that the treatment now is all pills, can be taken for as little as eight weeks and will cure over 95 per cent of the people who take it.”

Specialty Rx Pharmacy, which is located at 104-1360 Ellis St., made three hep C diagnoses on Thursday during their grand opening, during which they brought in as many marginalized citizens as they could find.

Dr. Conway, who is the medical director of the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre, and Dr. Paul Harris, who runs the Phoenix Wellness Clinic in Duncan, will serve as the Kelowna clinic’s doctors via teleconference. Conway is the hep C specialist, while Harris will help those with addictions get the help they need.

“We’re talking about marginalized, inner-city patients,” Specialty RX Solutions president and CEO Adesh Vora said, “getting them to engage, trusting the system and at the same time put them with the right practitioners and the team to not only get them treated but to help them improve their quality of life.”

Specialty Rx Solutions has pharmacies from Ontario to B.C. and is currently expanding into Quebec as well.

“We’re very excited to be part of the community and hopefully make a difference—reduce wait times,” Vora said. “Right now the wait times can be up to a year or more to see a hepatologist or somebody who can treat. We’re willing to treat people in 10 days.”

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