hepatitis c

The Pulse
3:32 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

Experts To Brief Lawmakers On Hep C In RI; Cost Of Treatment Likely To Come Up During Budget Talks

Gilead Sciences' hepatitis C drug Sovaldi costs more than $80,000 for a full course of treatment. Gilead says it's justified because the drug has reportedly high cure rates.
Credit Gilead Sciences

Experts on hepatitis C will present to lawmakers next Tuesday about the disease and how to prevent its spread in the Ocean State. Their presentation comes as state officials look for ways to pay for the growing cost of hepatitis C medications.

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The Pulse
2:00 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

At The Crossroads: The Road Ahead For Hep C

Host Kristin Gourlay with panelists Thomas Stopka and Michael Poshkus talk infection rates behind bars.
Credit Aaron Read / RIPR

Our months-long series about hepatitis C, "At the Crossroads: The Rise of Hepatitis C and the Fight to Stop It," has officially come to an end. We had a great public forum ("Hepatitis C: Cost, Cure, and Challenge") last night at Brown University, the audio from which is posted here, and some key takeaways from which I'll share, below.

    

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Health Care
1:15 pm
Sun January 11, 2015

At The Crossroads: One-Hour Special

Note: This estimate includes people not typically counted by national health surveys. The CDC estimates about 3 million Americans are infected but doesn't include people who are incarcerated, on active military duty, or in nursing homes.
Credit Jake Harper / RIPR

We're wrapping up our months-long series about one of the greatest public health challenges facing Rhode Island: hepatitis C. Listen online or download our one-hour special: "At the Crossroads: The Rise of Hepatitis C and the Fight to Stop It."

Go behind the series:

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The Pulse
1:20 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Map: Where To Find Free Or Low-Cost Hepatitis C Testing

It's sinister, this virus: hepatitis C can live in the body for decades before causing any noticeable symptoms. By then, the symptoms could be serious: at the worst, cirrhosis or liver cancer. Most people who have hepatitis C don't know it. In this case, what you don't know can hurt you, or even kill you.

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Health Care
6:00 am
Thu January 8, 2015

At The Crossroads, Part 8: Fueled By Opioid Abuse, New Hep C Infections Rise

A rapid hepatitis C test requires only a finger prick for a drop of blood and about a 20 minute wait to find out if you have been exposed to hepatitis C. A follow up confirmatory blood test is required to determine whether you've developed chronic hepatitis C infection.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

In 2014, hundreds of Rhode Islanders died from accidental drug overdoses.  Thousands more remain addicted to prescription painkillers and heroin. For those who inject the drugs, there’s another risk: hepatitis C.

In the final story in our series “At the Crossroads,” we meet a team of outreach workers determined to find new infections before it’s too late.

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Bringing disease prevention to the streets

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The Pulse
12:01 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

At The Crossroads: CVS Inks Exclusive Deal With Gilead For Hep C Drugs

Sovaldi costs $1000 a pill.
Credit Gilead Sciences

Woonsocket-based pharmacy giant CVS has signed a deal with drug maker Gilead to offer its hepatitis C drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni, exclusively, for treating hepatitis C.

The deal covers patients enrolled in drug benefit plans managed by CVS. And the news comes on the heels of AbbVie's announcement of a deal with CVS competitor Express Scripts, which will offer AbbVie's hepatitis C treatment, Viekira Pak, exclusively.

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The Pulse
2:20 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

At The Crossroads: Despite More Cases, Funding For Hep C Pales Next To HIV

Graph from the Rhode Island Public Health Association brief "Hepatitis C: Threat and Opportunity."
Credit Rhode Island Public Health Association / Rhode Island Department of Health

A couple of years ago, I read an issue brief written by Brad Brockmann with the Rhode Island Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights. The brief, called "Hepatitis C: Threat and Opportunity," depicted the number of HIV cases against the number of Hepatitis C cases in Rhode Island in 2007 - 2008 in a bar graph. The bar for the number of hep C cases was much, much higher.

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Health Care
6:00 am
Thu December 18, 2014

At The Crossroads, Part 7: Behind Bars, Hep C Takes A Toll On Inmates, And Budgets

Outside the medium security prison in Cranston.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island’s prisons are grappling with a dilemma. Hundreds of inmates have hepatitis C. New drugs can cure it. But they’re so expensive the department of corrections can’t afford them for every inmate who’s sick.

In this next part of our series “At the Crossroads,” a look at how prison officials decide who gets treated first.

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The Pulse
10:38 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Agency Sues Over Hep C Drug Price; Researchers Compare Effectiveness

No surprise here: the Philadelphia Transportation Authority is suing Gilead, maker of the expensive new hepatitis C drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni, over the cost of those drugs. A course of Sovaldi, not including drugs you might have to take in combination with it, as some patients do, costs $84,000. Harvoni, which won FDA approval more recently, costs $94,000.

According to the Philadelphia Star Tribune:

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Health Care
6:00 am
Fri December 5, 2014

At The Crossroads, Part 6: Veterans Harder Hit By Hep C

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) chairs the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs. At a hearing Wednesday, Dec. 3, Sanders wanted to know why new hepatitis C drugs cost so much and how the VA was going to pay for them.
Credit Screenshot of live stream of hearing

In our ongoing series about hepatitis C, we look now at one of the hardest hit populations: veterans. Hep C is three times more prevalent among vets than in the general population. The Veterans Health Administration has the country’s largest hepatitis C screening and treatment program in the country. But that program is struggling to pay for new treatments – and the rising number of veterans who need them.

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