hepatitis c

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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Health Care
6:00 am
Wed November 26, 2014

At The Crossroads, Part 5: The Uncomfortable Math Of Hep C Treatment

What’s the price of a human life? Many of us would say each life is priceless. But health economists sometimes have a number in mind.

Want to know what that number is?

In this part of our series “At the Crossroads: The Rise of Hepatitis C and The Fight To Stop It,” we'll tell you that - and more. We go beyond the high price of new hepatitis C drugs  to ask: how much is too much? And what the heck is a "quality adjusted life year" anyway?

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The Pulse
3:30 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

At The Crossroads: Hepatitis C Resources In RI

For the past several weeks we've been airing stories from our series, "At the Crossroads: The rise of hepatitis C and the fight to stop it." Maybe you've been wondering, hey, should I get tested? Where can I do that? And what's it like?

Wonder no more. Here's a collection of resources to get you started.

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The Pulse
11:39 am
Fri November 21, 2014

At The Crossroads: How Will Medicare Grapple With Hep C?

My recent story about the high cost of new hepatitis C treatments focused on the difficulty of deciding who gets these new drugs now and who has to wait. That's because, while new drugs like Sovaldi and Harvoni (both made by Gilead) promise to cure a lot of people, they're so expensive we simply couldn't afford to treat everyone who's infected right now.

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Health Care
6:00 am
Thu November 20, 2014

At The Crossroads, Part 4: New Hep C Drugs Promise A Cure, For A Big Price

The FDA has approved dozens of so-called specialty drugs recently. Most are costlier than standard treatments, and most target a relatively small patient population suffering from a rare condition. But hepatitis C is far from rare.
Credit Jake Harper / RIPR

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the discovery of the hepatitis C virus. Since then, people with hepatitis C have had limited – and not very effective – options for treatment.

Until now.

Revolutionary new treatments have hit the market in just the last few months. But they’re so expensive health insurers are balking at the price.

Part four of our series “At the Crossroads: The Rise of Hepatitis C and the Fight to Stop it” looks at the high cost of these new treatments and who’s paying for them.

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Health Care
5:00 am
Wed November 12, 2014

At The Crossroads, Part 3: As Old Hepatitis C Treatment Fades Out, New Treatments Stoke Hope

Source: Brandon Marshall, Brown University School of Public Health and RI Defeats Hep C.
Credit Jake Harper / RIPR

In just a few weeks, another pharmaceutical company will likely win FDA approval for a new drug to cure hepatitis C. That makes three breakthrough medications hitting the market in less than a year. It’s big news for the estimated twenty thousand Rhode Islanders – and many more throughout New England -  living with chronic hepatitis C. Because some have been waiting decades for a cure.

Next in our series “At The Crossroads: The Rise of Hepatitis C and the Fight to Stop it,” why one man waited so long for treatment.

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Health Care
6:00 am
Mon November 3, 2014

At The Crossroads, Part 2: Finding Hep C Infections Before It's Too Late

Credit Jake Harper / RIPR

Hepatitis C infects an estimated five million Americans, nearly 20-thousand Rhode Islanders among them. And most of them don’t know it. But many are about to find out. It takes about 20 years for most people to notice any symptoms from hepatitis C, and it was about that long ago most people got infected. Now doctors in Rhode Island and throughout the country are noticing a wave of patients with the kind of advanced liver disease hepatitis C can cause.                                                                               

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