Although it would take a huge investment at the outset, treating hepatitis C patients could save $800 billion in the next 20 years and free up treatment for thousands of people with other liver diseases.
WASHINGTON, May 9 (UPI) — The business practices of medicine are keeping people with hepatitis C sick longer in the interest of saving money in the short term, but the cost of treating them when they get worse costs a lot more.
Treating and curing hepatitis C patients would likely cost a lot of money up front, but researchers say the nearly $1 trillion saved over the next two decades and attention paid to other diseases could result in lives saved and a healthier populace, researchers at the University of Southern California found in a series of studies published in the American Journal of Managed Care.
This is a personal piece that I produced/edited about my step-father, Gene Calvo’s fight for the drug Harvoni. He was not approved the drug even though he was prescribed it by his doctor. Not getting this drug cost him his life and this piece tells the story. There are two links to this album. One is just the package and the other is the actual show in which the piece aired called “Ali Velshi On Target”.
In his youth, Andrew Loog Oldham epitomized the Swinging Sixties. The idiosyncratic manager discovered the Rolling Stones and produced some of their classic songs, including 19th Nervous Breakdown, Mother’s Little Helper, Lady Jane, Ruby Tuesday and Paint It Black. He formed Britain’s first independent record label, which recorded Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton and Fleetwood Mac, and for a time he worked with the Beatles.
Oldham also had a 30-year history with drugs, followed by a five-year drinking spree that ended in 1995.
“My breakfast would be a glass of grappa, a line of coke and then I could handle an espresso,” he recalls.
New research just unveiled by the University of Pennsylvania indicates that hepatitis C is one of the nation’s most grievous and intensifying health disparities. Based on data collected in four states, the study found that nearly half of Medicaid recipients are being denied access to a cure for hepatitis C, and left to progress to end-stage – often irreversible – liver disease before they can receive life-saving treatment.
More deadly and 10 times more infectious than HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver failure and liver cancer–the fastest-rising cause of all cancer-related deaths, with more than 3.2 million Americans estimated to be living with the virus.
Until recently, hepatitis C treatments were largely ineffective at managing the disease, and caused debilitating – and sometimes even fatal – side effects that left many patients hopeless in the fight against this silent killer. Thanks to innovative treatments that offer cure rates of near 100 percent with minimal side effects, hepatitis C patients now have an unprecedented chance to live virus-free, and avoid liver failure, cancer-causing cirrhosis, liver transplants and other health impacts.
New York State’s Medicaid program spent nearly $185 million on hepatitis C drugs during the second quarter of 2015, accounting for more than 6 percent of all drug spending.
That’s up nearly 50 percent from the $124 million the state’s insurance program for low-income New Yorkers spent during the first three months of the year, according to data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Drug prices have become the focus of national outrage, with presidential candidates from both sides of the aisle and a bipartisan group of lawmakers criticizing pharmaceutical companies for the exorbitant prices of new drugs, and exponential price increases for existing drugs
Treating hepatitis C sooner rather than later — even at the early stages of liver fibrosis — is worth the thousands of dollars it costs to pay for the new, more effective drugs, according to researchers who developed a model to assess historical treatment data.
The study out of the University of California, San Francisco, involved a decision-ayalytic model to assess the cost effectiveness of treating all patients with hepatitis C virus versus only patients with advanced fibrosis. Results were published Nov. 23 in the Online First section of JAMA Internal Medicine.
Hepatitis C is a bloodborne virus that can seriously damage the liver over time and lead to cirrhosis of the liver, cancer or the need for a liver transplant. Health officials estimate that about 3 million people in the United States and 150 million worldwide are chronically infected with the disease.