Now, a new drug has appeared on the market that cures Hepatitis C. This drug is called, Epclusa, and it is a once-a-day pill taken for 12 weeks that cures 6 strains of Hepatitis C.
Dr. Jordan Feld, a liver specialist at Toronto Western Hospital states, “This is really a cure."
The only downside to this new, life-saving medication is the price. One pill is more than $700, putting the total for 12 weeks worth pills at about $60,000.
Despite the price, Feld argues this medication is a huge advance for Hepatitis patients.
Medications created for Hepatitis up to this point were designed for one specific strain and they were not nearly as effective as Epclusa. Feld also says this medicine will heal all strains of Hepatitis C; therefore, there is no need to test the patient to find the strain they have. Extra testing delays treatment time, and it is unnecessary if a patient can take one drug that cures any genotype of Hepatitis C.
Hepatitis is known as the “silent killer” because it takes years to become obvious inside someone’s body. Side effects include swelling of limbs, yellowing of the skin, eyes, and urine.
Feld wants to tell the public to get tested for Hepatitis C. “We have a cure, but we can’t cure people we can’t diagnose,” he tells The Globe and Mail.
Doctors in Canada have a goal to eliminate Hepatitis C by 2030. But to do this, people need to get tested and drastic measures will need to be taken regarding the price of the medication.
Dr. Morris Sherman, the chairman of the Canadian Liver Foundation, states, “Having a therapy that works for all genotypes will make treatment easier for both patients and physicians to manage. But it must be accessible, regardless of where someone lives or their ability to pay.”