Hepatitis C is a curable disease; however the opioid crisis is creating more barriers to eradicating this disease.
The good news is that, because of new drugs, it would be possible to wipe out hepatitis C. The bad news is that the raging heroin addiction epidemic makes that unlikely.
Hepatitis C — about 3.5 million Americans have it — poses grave health and economic consequences: the new treatments are expensive, and represent a huge drain on government programs such as Medicaid.
The Pew Charitable Trusts has taken a look at the situation, reporting that, after declining for 20 years, new hepatitis cases nearly tripled between 2010 and 2015, when there were an estimated 34,000 new cases.
It’s being spread by people who share needles to inject drugs.
Treating hepatitis C costs an average of $30,000 per year, Pew said. Those who don’t get treatment can die of liver cirrhosis or cancer.
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