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The state was reportedly neglecting to treat patients with the disease due to the cost of the drugs that cure it.
Louisiana and Washington want to pay a flat fee to hepatitis C drug makers, such as Gilead, AbbVie and Merck, for unlimited meds each year.
Hepatitis C kills far more Americans than any other infectious disease.
This new class of HCV drugs, which are much easier on the human body and virtually free of side effects, attacks the virus directly and can reduce the viral load to zero when taken correctly.
A cure exists for HCV. We can't let cost barriers to accessing life-saving medication impose a death sentence. The time is now to expand access to all who need it.
After a long dry spell, the pharmaceutical research industry has brought to market a spate of innovative treatments that can extend life and often have fewer side effects than older treatments. But these medicines are not affordable to most of the people who need them.
Drug companies must be held accountable to ensure that treatment is truly accessible to those who need it most. Making a cure available to all is not only the right thing to do, it is necessary to comply with the law, and to prevent the spread of Hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C Is Killing Americans in Record Numbers While Patients Cannot Access Life Saving Medicine
With greater attention to hepatitis C diagnosis and treatment we hopefully can turn the tide of preventable hepatitis C deaths.
We need Congress to do the right thing and provide funding for services for prevention and treatment of viral hepatitis. We need a national viral hepatitis surveillance system. And what we need most is to eliminate viral hepatitis so we won't ever lose anyone else to these two diseases.
We don't trust the news. We don't trust the "system". And then there's that cousin on our daddy's side who we love, but just don't trust. In this same vein, when it comes to scientists, researchers and even our own doctors, we say, "I just don't trust 'em."
Last Thursday, the California Department of Public Health approved the first ever needle exchange in Orange County. Orange County has long opposed needle exchanges, despite decades of evidence demonstrating that these programs save lives and prevent the spread of infectious disease.
Last month Congressional Republicans rallied behind an effort to lift a decades-old ban against federal funding for syringe exchange programs.
In early 2015 Kentucky shocked the nation by becoming the first Southern state to officially legalize syringe exchange programs. Since then the news has covered the successful roll-out of a couple different syringe exchange programs through local health departments, but has also reported some backlash coming from the legislature.
It's discouraging to realize that there are many more people with hepatitis C than we thought, but solutions are better found when they are based on facts rather than fiction. Now that we know the truth, we can roll up our sleeves and figure out how we are going to stamp out this preventable and curable disease.