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Meeting urges hepatitis C awareness

With 3.5 million people in the U.S. infected with the hepatitis C virus, awareness of this disease and its treatment is important.

At least 3.5 million people in the U.S. have hepatitis C and 17,000 become infected each year. Sadly, an estimated 10 percent, or an estimated 80,000 Vietnam veterans also have the disease.

The issue with veterans having the disease is that few of them have been diagnosed because they may not have any symptoms. To that end, officials with veterans organizations are urging all Vietnam-era veterans to be tested.

The concern over veterans was the impetus for a community program held Tuesday at the Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives. The meeting was organized by Jim Sherlock with the Montgomery-based Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 607.

Sherlock said he’s set up many similar meetings across the country in an effort to inform the public about veterans health issues. He developed a list of 12 different veteran health concerns and hepatitis C was on that list. He was then able to arrange a 15-minute meeting with Gilead Sciences, the maker of sofosbuvir. The drug, marketed under the names of Sovaldi and Harvoni, is becoming more commonly used in fighting hepatitis C.

Sherlock said the 15-minute meeting turned into a two-hour meeting with the company’s top executives. From that meeting, he said, the company pledged its support to help the country’s veterans.

The San Francisco-based company had taken its share of criticism by charging exorbitant prices for its medication. Prior to this year, the Veterans Affairs Department could only treat the very sickest patients because one dose of hepatitis C medication could run between $1,000 and $1,400 per pill. The total cost of treatment could reach or exceed $84,000.

Read Full Article: Meeting urges hepatitis C awareness | Local News |

Read Full Article: Meeting urges hepatitis C awareness | Local News |

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