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Why are we not testing more people for Hep C?

Most people who are infected with the hepatitis C virus have no idea. More screening programs are needed, especially since there are now very effective treatments available to cure almost everyone who has hepatitis C.

The majority of people who have Hepatitis C don’t even know they have it. So why are we not testing more people for it? We asked New York University Medical Ethicist Art Caplan what is standing in the way.

“It’s a complex set of factors, but the major one is it’s a low incidence disease, despite the fact that many, many Americans have it,” he told Pulse host Maiken Scott. “It’s only probably two percent of the overall population.”

That, coupled with the relatively high cost of general screening and treatments not being as effective as they are now has resulted in less screening and less people knowing they have it. Now, he says, we’ve suddenly got a very effective non side effects intervention that seems to work.

“To make an analogy that’s strained, but somewhat similar,” he says. “No one wanted to talk about impotence for a very long time in men and then came the erectile dysfunction drugs and now they talk about it every minute on sports events, so out of the closet it came when a treatment appeared.”

But that treatment comes with a cost.

“It’s clear that Medicaid programs in different states can’t really afford the prices. The VA is exceedingly nervous about the impact of this new drug on its budget. The price must be driven down.”

Read Full Article: Why are we not testing more people for Hep C? — NewsWorks

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