No developing countries have so far come forward to buy massively discounted hepatitis C drugs to treat their populations. The Global Procurement Fund, created this year to provide discounted medications by the Centre for Disease Analysis Foundation (CDAF), Louisville, CO, USA, has appealed on this year’s World Hepatitis Day on July 28, 2017 for countries to step up to mark and commit to buying these live-saving drugs.
Some 70 million people worldwide have chronic hepatitis C infection, which if left untreated can cause extensive liver damage, cancer and death. Since their introduction in 2014, directly acting antiviral (DAA) drugs have transformed the hepatitis C landscape. A disease which previously needed long-term treatment with interferon-based regimens (with ghastly side effects and no guarantee of cure) can now be cured with a short course of oral DAAs with few or no side effects.
However, much of this breakthrough has been overshadowed by the debate around the prices of these therapies.