Diagnosing viral hepatitis in the community: A 3-month pharmacy testing pilot


Jan 2010 by Hepatitis C Trust
This document sets out the findings of a 3 month pharmacy testing pilot. With the aim of assessing the feasibility and efficiency of providing on-demand testing primarily of hepatitis C and hepatitis B in a pharmacy setting for adults in England, 19 pharmacies undertook a total of 234 tests over a three-month pilot study (mean average of 12 tests per pharmacy), which diagnosed 35 people with hepatitis C antibodies and 4 people with hepatitis B surface antigensi (including 1 patient who was co-infected with hepatitis B and C).This means on average 15% of tests resulted in a positive hepatitis C diagnosis, which is a significantly higher proportion of positive hepatitis C tests compared to those undertaken in GP surgeries. This pharmacy testing pilot diagnosed a slightly lower proportion of hepatitis B positive people than through national testing routes: 1.7% of those tested in pharmacies were HBV positive and 2.1% of those tested in other locations were HBV positive (excluding antenatal screening). The Hepatitis C Trust concludes that hepatitis C testing in pharmacies is a feasible and efficient route of diagnosing people with the virus. Since this project was primarily designed to examine the efficiency of hepatitis C testing, The Hepatitis C Trust believes that the efficiency of testing hepatitis B in pharmacies should be further evaluated through a pilot study that targets pharmacies in areas with populations likely to be at risk from hepatitis B, for example areas with large first-generation migrants from high-prevalence countries.