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Slashed cost of hepatitis C drugs spurs drive to eliminate the disease

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k1679 (Published 16 April 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k1679
  1. Richard Hurley
  1. The BMJ

Unimaginable just a few years ago, new drugs for hepatitis C are becoming affordable for all, reports Richard Hurley

Access to hepatitis C virus testing and treatment should be expanded now that effective, curative drugs are so affordable, the World Health Organization said on 13 April. The advice comes two years after the agency made a global commitment to eliminate all types of viral hepatitis by 2030.1

Until recently, such a promise felt like pie in the sky. Eye watering launch prices of drugs such as sofosbuvir of around $90 000 (£63 000; €73 000) per patient in the US and almost £35 000 in England meant that even rich countries were restricting access to direct acting antiviral combinations when they launched, some five years ago.

In the UK, NHS England took action in 2015 to ensure that only the sickest patients had access to the drugs, although they were recommended by …

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