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.