Note: lower prices just may help in some countries like the United States and Canada!
[AMSTERDAM] Providing cheap drugs against the hepatitis C virus (HCV) has had limited success in fighting the disease in South-East Asia where poor health services and stigma surrounding the infection are significant barriers, says a new survey.
The survey, released to coincide with World Hepatitis Day on 28 July, showed that those at greatest risk from HCV, including injecting drug users (IDUs) and people living with HIV/AIDS, are least likely to access treatment despite availability of cheap drugs across much of the region over the past seven years. In Malaysia, for example, the cost of effective treatment has come down from US$12,000 to US$300.
HCV, which leads to liver failure, is associated with HIV/AIDS. Both are blood-borne viral diseases similarly transmitted via blood transfusions, needle sharing among IDUs and unsafe sex. Many HCV patients are co-infected with HIV, adding to complications responsible for 350,000—500,000 deaths globally each year.