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Communities, Governments Must Work To Improve Access To Hepatitis C Treatments

HuffPost: Time to Galvanize Efforts to Combat Hepatitis C
Marie-Paule Kieny, chair of the Medicines Patent Pool Governance Board

“…Although we have new hepatitis C treatments that can be up to 100 percent effective for a 12-week course, they simply are not getting to those who need them. Why? Well for starters, more than 70 percent of the estimated 71 million suffering with hepatitis C live in low- and middle-income countries where access to testing, let alone treatment, is limited. … The initial, extremely high price of new drugs has been a major barrier to access, but there are some bright spots on the horizon. … Gilead Sciences signed licensing agreements with 11 Indian manufacturers to locally produce sofosbuvir for developing countries, and 10 generic companies are working through the Medicines Patent Pool to develop low-cost versions of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s daclatasvir, which works best when paired with sofosbuvir. … [W]e have at our disposal effective remedies for hepatitis C if we can deliver them to all patients in need. Unlike HIV treatment which requires a life-time commitment, the battle against hepatitis C can be won over the course of a season. Community involvement and commitments from national governments to eliminate the disease through coordinated prevent, screen, treat, and monitor programs are the way forward…” (12/4).