Worldwide, about 150 million people suffer from chronic HCV. In 2010, HCV related mortality in the European Union was estimated at 57,000 with rates increasing. Hepatitis C is prevalent among people who inject drugs, patients after transfusions and health professionals.
A new revolutionary treatment for hepatitis C has been developed. Within a few months of taking the new oral ’Sovaldi’ drug, developed by Gilead, it is possible to cure HCV almost completely. The drug is suitable for all genotypes and is effective for any stage of liver fibrosis or liver disease. The new drug could eliminate HCV completely within the next 15 years! To do this, the drug has to be made available to everyone that needs it, in every country.
In addition, Gilead is introducing licensing agreements that will limit access and keep high prices for almost every country. The main substance of the drug: sofosbuvir can be produced as a generic drug and would cost $1 per day in treatment. To be effective, sofosbuvir has to be used with other hepatitis C drugs, so complete treatment is even more expensive and difficult to afford.
Civil society organsations, forums, associations and networks working in hepatitis C related areas want to underline that the right to health is a fundamental right. Strategies and action places should be established by health ministries to prevent, diagnose and treat hepatitis C. Pharmaceutical companies are called upon to ensure universal access to treatment for everyone living with this disease by proposing a reasonable price for their drug.
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