Regarding the treatment of hepatitis C, I confess that I have been distracted in recent months by the controversy surrounding the cost of treatment and not paid sufficient attention to the incredible success with the treatment (see: Hep C Treatment Prognosis Continues to Amaze). Below is a quote from this article:
Rapid advances in the treatment of hepatitis C have clinicians seeing outcomes they never thought possible, and experts are optimistic that more complex and challenging patients will respond to therapy. However, treatment choice can be tricky. And caveats are emerging, including reports that direct-acting antivirals used for the treatment of hepatitis C might increase the risk for hepatitis B reactivation and liver cancer in some patients. But the big picture is one of clinical success. "We know that 95% to 100% of patients treated for hepatitis C can be cured. It's pretty amazing," said Tram Tran, MD....Unlike most viruses, this is a virus we can cure"...."The key is to keep screening, especially the baby-boomer generation,"....[another expert commented]. Baby boomers should have at least one hepatitis C test, he said, citing an emergency department study that showed high rates of unrecognized disease in patients born from 1946 to 1965....
There is thus a pressing need to screen Baby Boomers for hepatitis C. It's not exactly clear why this cohort has such a high incidence of hepatitis C. Here is a brief discussion about this problem (see: Hepatitis C: The Forgotten Virus):
No one is 100% sure why Baby Boomers (born 1945–1965) are at higher risk [for hepatitis C infection]. Since the Hep C virus was only discovered in 1989, it’s likely that most Boomers were infected before that time and may only be showing symptoms now. In fact, donated blood was not screened for Hep C until 1992. According to the CDC, many Baby Boomers were infected in the 70’s and 80’s when infection control standards were not what they are today.
To finish, a quick summary of the cost of treatment (see: Pros and Cons of New Hepatitis C Drugs):
The newer hepatitis C drugs are super-expensive. Harvoni rings in at $1,125 per pill, or $94,500 for a 12-week course of treatment, and other new medications are nearly as pricey. Insurers are scrambling to figure out how to pay for treatment without breaking the bank. Many say they will only cover costly therapies for the sickest patients. In comparison, the cost [for] 11 out of 12 cancer drugs the FDA approved in 2012 for cancer chemotherapy was over $100,000 for a one-year treatment course.