Hepatitis C, the costs of treatment, the costs of delay, and the case for action . . . We’re reading about unprecedented and unrealized opportunities

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NewWWREnding an Epidemic – In spite of an impact on an estimated 185 million people globally that includes close to half a million deaths yearly, attention to hepatitis C has lagged in the years since the virus was identified, but the recent development of new drugs has brought both recognition of what can be done to fight the disease, and hopes for what will be done. This report from the Yale Global Health Justice Partnership looks at the opportunity new direct acting antivirals offer, not just to cure the disease, but to end it. With a look at barriers to diagnosis and using the medicines the new drugs can replace, the authors urge advocates to lead momentum for global action on HCV responses and policy makers to mobilize resources. The report includes the personal stories of struggle and survival from people who have lived with HCV in India, Argentina, Ukraine, Thailand and the United States,

Hepatitis C and Drug Pricing – With an $84,000 price tag for its breakthrough direct acting antiviral against hepatitis C, drug developer Gilead has absorbed most of the heat for exorbitant drug pricing that puts treatment out of reach for the vast majority of the people who need it, but the pharmaceutical company is not alone, this issue brief from amfAR notes. It includes a handy chart showing the costs of regimens with new drugs from Medivir and Janssen Pharmaceutical ($85,000), AbbVie Inc. ($83,000), as well as several Gilead combinations (from $85,00 to $160,000). It also examines the impact of these pricing decisions (for courses of treatment that can cost under $100 to manufacture) on low and middle income countries as well as on insurers, prison systems, Medicaid and Medicare in the U.S. Highlighting Gilead’s 12.4 billion in revenue from its hepatitis C drug in a single year, and pointing out that drug development is supported with public funds, the brief calls for a hard look at intellectual property policies in the U.S.

Deferring hepatitis C treatment can lead to liver cancer and death, despite cure – This article from hivandhepatitis.com reports on a presentation at last week’s Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections showing how hepatitis C outcomes worsen and become irreversible even after cure when treatment has been too long delayed. It includes a link to the webcast of the presentation, and more webcasts of hepatitis focused presentations can be found here.

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