The international G7 summit will be discussing the affordability of hepatitis C medications.
THEY’VE brought hope to millions, drugs so revolutionary that they can cure hepatitis C and so expensive that neither patients nor public health services can afford them – an issue to be raised at this week’s G7.
The pills made by US group Gilead Sciences are just one example of efficient yet costly treatments that have put the delicate question of how much a life is worth on the table of cash-strapped governments which hesitate to fund them.
In Spain, after multiple protests that included the three-month occupation of a Madrid hospital, patients were handed a partial victory last year when the government decided to provide the drugs to those at advanced stages of the disease.
So far, nearly 52,000 people have been treated out of 472,000 virus carriers.
‘Shock for health spending’
But according to Spain’s Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro, that last-minute cost was in part responsible for the country overshooting its public deficit target in 2015.
It’s a similar story in France, which paid out €1.5 billion (RM6.8 billion) between mid-2014 and June 2015 for innovative hepatitis C treatments for the worst affected, according to a report by its social security system.
It has just announced it will now cover the drugs for every patient.
Germany, meanwhile, disbursed 1.3 billion euros last year, and the debate over costly innovative treatments is such that the government is mulling a law on the issue.
|Read Full Article: Revolutionary hepatitis C drugs leave public health systems reeling | theSundaily|