Wiping out Hepatitis C

Here’s the view of the NY Times (nyti.ms/1b7nTbl ) about the new therapies for Hepatitis C:

Medicine may be on the brink of an enormous public health achievement: turning the tide against hepatitis C, a silent plague that kills more Americans annually than AIDSand is the leading cause of liver transplants. If the effort succeeds, it will be an unusual conquest of a viral epidemic without using a vaccine.

“There is no doubt we are on the verge of wiping out hepatitis C,” said Dr. Mitchell L. Shiffman, the director of the Bon Secours Liver Institute of Virginia and a consultant to many drug companies.

Over the next three years, starting within the next few weeks, new drugs are expected to come to market that will cure most patients with the virus, in some cases with a once-a-day pill taken for as little as eight weeks, and with only minimal side effects.

That would be a vast improvement over current therapies, which cure about 70 percent of newly treated patients but require six to 12 months of injections that can bring horrible side effects.

The latest data on the experimental drugs is being presented at The Liver Meeting in Washington, which ends Tuesday [11/5/13]

But the new drugs are expected to cost from $60,000 to more than $100,000 for a course of treatment.

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