Opinion: Advances in HCV treatment underutilized due to barriers

Hepatitis C treatments have made strides in the past few years, to the point that the disease can be almost always cured and done so with minimal side effects. Yet, these effective treatments aren't being used nearly enough, according to an article written by Nezam H Afdhal, MD, in KevinMD.  

The largest barrier preventing widespread use of the treatments is cost, according to the article. A course of one of these new HCV treatments can cost upwards of $100,000. The burden on patients and the healthcare system at large is apparent. The cost to treat 1 million patients over the next decade, which would be necessary to impact the course of HCV according to Dr. Afdhal, would be approximately $100 billion.

In addition to the cost, obtaining these treatments for patients is not a simple process. Physicians and staff need to dedicate significant amounts of time to receive all proper approval to treat a patient in an environment already pressed for time on every front.

"It is ironic that here we are with the ability to essentially eradicate hepatitis C from the U.S. population within the next decade using simple, safe and highly effective therapies, and yet we appear to lack both the economic, societal and political wherewithal to make this a reality," said Dr. Afdhal, according to the report.

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