The PharmEC REACH study

PharmEC REACH study: Reaching mEthadone users Attending Community pHarmacies with HCV

Assessing the effectiveness of nurse-led testing and treatment initiation for HCV in community pharmacies, for people with a history of injection drug on opiate substitution therapy.

People who inject drugs (PWID) have been identified as a high-risk group for on-going Hepatitis C infection and transmission. The advent of direct acting antiviral (DAA) medication and GP management of treatment for uncomplicated cases has made access to treatment easier than ever.

There still at-risk people however who, for many different reasons, are not engaging with health care services. New models need to be explored in a bid to offer testing and treatment to these hard to reach people.

The PharmEC project is an international, multi-centre trial that aims to assess the effectiveness and feasibility of a nurse-led pharmacy outreach model of Hepatitis C (HCV) testing and treatment. This is compared with conventional treatment pathways. The trial is for people with a history of injecting drug use who receive opiate substitution therapy (OST) through their community pharmacy.

The trial intends to engage 40 community pharmacies dispensing OST across 3 countries: Australia, Scotland and Wales. Burnet is the only Australian collaborator and recruitment has been through community pharmacies located around Melbourne.

Recruitment has closed in Australia and the study is in the follow-up phase for those treated participants who tested positive.

The Scottish and Welsh sites are still actively recruiting.


2019 – 2021


  • Professor John Dillon, University of Dundee, Scotland: Professor of Gastroenterology and Hepatology & Professor of Clinical Teaching and Research
  • Doctor Brendan Healy, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Wales: Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology


The University of Dundee, Scotland

Contact Details

For any general enquiries relating to this project, please contact:

Associate Professor Joseph (Joe) Doyle

Deputy Program Director, Disease Elimination; Co-Head, Viral Hepatitis Elimination; NHMRC Clinical Research Fellow