Sex, drugs, rock ’n’ roll – then hepatitis C treatment

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Sex, drugs, rock ’n’ roll – then hepatitis C treatment

Baby Boomers, like 1960s music legend Andrew Loog Oldham, may have survived the era of excess, but not without some consequences. Oldham shares his story of finally getting treatment for hepatitis C.

In his youth, Andrew Loog Oldham epitomized the Swinging Sixties. The idiosyncratic manager discovered the Rolling Stones and produced some of their classic songs, including 19th Nervous Breakdown, Mother’s Little Helper, Lady Jane, Ruby Tuesday and Paint It Black. He formed Britain’s first independent record label, which recorded Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton and Fleetwood Mac, and for a time he worked with the Beatles.

Oldham also had a 30-year history with drugs, followed by a five-year drinking spree that ended in 1995.

“My breakfast would be a glass of grappa, a line of coke and then I could handle an espresso,” he recalls.

He collects royalties off those heady days, which is a lucky thing, because the decades that followed were tumultuous.

Somewhere in the madness – he doesn’t know exactly when – he contracted the hepatitis C virus. Today, at 71, he represents the war babies and younger boomers who may have survived that era of excess, but didn’t emerge completely unscathed. The British music legend, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, was one of millions among his generation to contract the slow-moving but potentially fatal disease.

And he is also one of the early beneficiaries of a long-awaited drug that has cured him of the disease, which can linger for decades before wreaking havoc on the liver.

Oldham received the 12-week treatment in Vancouver last summer. After receiving the drug Harvoni – produced by California’s Gilead Sciences and approved by Health Canada one year ago – a follow-up blood test showed that he was virus-free.

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