May 23, 2014 – Hepatitis C Treatment

May 23, 2014

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ANCHOR LEAD:  HOW CAN THE MILLIONS AROUND THE WORLD AFFORD TREATMENT FOR HEPATITIS C? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

New treatments for hepatitis C are miraculous, clearing the infection in almost 100% of people who are treated.  But Michael Klag, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says these medications have a profound negative aspect.

KLAG: The profound negative aspect is the cost.  These pills cost $1000 a pill, $84,000 for a 12 week course of one preparation, another costs $66,000 for a three month course. This is a huge amount of money.  Based on this data the WHO has come out with a recommendation that basically everybody in the world who has hepatitis C should be treated with these medications.  We should screen for hepatitis C, there’s an estimated 150 million people and then they should be treated with these agents.  Of course that’s impossible given the cost of these agents.   :33

Klag says the WHO and other groups are negotiating with drug manufacturers to try to reduce the cost.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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