New Hepatitis C Drugs Could Prevent 126,500 Deaths From Complications Associated With the Disease
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh predict that with new screening guidelines and effective drugs, hepatitis C will soon be considered a rare disease.
Thanks to new treatments from Gilead Sciences and Johnson and Johnson, the disease could be considered rare by the year 2036.
Although the drugs are effective, they come at a high price tag. Gilead’s Sovaldi is priced at $84,000 for a 12-week course and Johnson and Johnson’s Olysio costs $66,300.
Unfortunately, these high prices mean that health insurance premiums will be more expensive, with estimates from the Journal of the American Medical Association expecting heath insurance premiums to rise by $200 to $300 per person in the US.
Despite the high price of these drugs, they have their worth – a study by the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that the new drugs could push hepatitis C cases down to one in about 1,500, as opposed to 1 in a 100 as is the case now. It could also prevent 79,000 cases of liver cancer and 126,500 deaths from hepatitis complications.
The new drugs reportedly have cure rates of more than 90%, as opposed to the older treatment interferon which elicited cure rates of just 40-50%. In addition, the new treatments are taken over a 12-week course as opposed to a year long course as was the case with interferon.
More new treatments for the disease are expected to hit the US market soon, and the hope is that competition on the market will drive prices down.
Only time will tell, but as it stands, health insurance premiums for hepatitis C patients are expected to soar.
Read more about it here: Screening and Drug Therapy Predicted to Make Hepatitis C a Rare Disease