New weapon to cure Hepatitis C

Posted on: 6:07 pm, December 12, 2013, by , updated on: 10:25am, December 13, 2013

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hepatitis C is a liver-destroying virus that’s most common in baby boomers. Many got it years ago from IV drug use or unsafe sex. Now there’s a new drug to cure it.

Four years ago, a physical brought bad news for Bill Barber. He had Hepatitis C, a virus that can cause liver failure, scarring and cancer. Barber tried the standard drugs which included shots of interferon with its bad side effects.

“I was exhausted. I had basically flu-like symptoms all the time,” said Barber.

And the treatment wasn’t getting rid of Hep C, so he quit. Then Barber got into a study of a pill called sofosbuvir. His doctor calls it revolutionary.

“This drug was specifically designed to go in and stop this Hepatitis C virus from replicating by stopping what’s called the RNA which is the genetic structure,” said Dr. Bradley Freilich of the Hepatitis Treatment Center at Research Medical Center’s Brookside Campus.

Dr. Freilich says depending upon the type of Hep C, the drug can eliminate the need for interferon or shorten by months the time you have to take it. Unlike interferon, sofosbuvir doesn’t have severe side effects.

“It dramatically improves the on-treatment experience that people have,” said Dr. Freilich.

Sofosbuvir has just received FDA approval. The brand name will be Sovaldi. The cure rate is better than 90 percent. That’s about twenty percent higher than with current treatment.

“It means there are people all over this country that are gonna get a chance to live,” said Barber. “They pronounced me cured. I have to credit the drug and Dr. Freilich and his staff for saving my life.”

Solvaldi will cost about $84,000 to take for three months.

The government now recommends that all baby boomers get tested for Hepatitis C since many don’t know they have it.

16 comments

  • Tricia says:

    At $84k for 3 months who will be able to afford it. I’m sure very few of the people who have Hep C don’t have $84k laying around.

    • Patti says:

      I agree with you Tricia, and many others who will never be able to afford these new drugs. I agree with the previous poster who says it like it is: ridiculous and heinous exploitation of supply and demand. How sad for those suffering from this virus. More and more baby boomers are being diagnosed. Not all are drug users and sexually promiscuous.
      My husband is waiting to go on one of these new drugs coming this year, as he failed the other treatments twice. If he is not put on a trial (for his genotype – 1B) he will never be able to obtain the cure given these outrageous costs. In his case he is pretty sure he contracted HCV in the military during the Vietnam era. We are baby boomers. The government has to provide these new wonder drugs to those affected/infected, or else they will be responsible for many deaths, and the proliferation of a serious, deadly disease. We must all speak up!

      • Angelo says:

        The drug makers of the drug always gives out a number to call if you can’t afford the drugs and you’ll get them for nothing. You do have to pay a doctor to monitor you through blood work etc.

    • Raydine Prado says:

      My group insurance from work pays for this medication. There is $150 co-pay for each medication. Gilead (makers of sovaldi) pays $145 of that fee. I take two other medications with it and pay a total of $140 a month for my combined medications. For the 90%+ chance of being free of the Hep C virus, I am grateful for the research and help with co-pay from Gilead. The other two manufactures also help with the co-pay. Time to do your research!

  • Ronald Johnson says:

    I would love to be able to take this new cure, all I can do is give it to the lord and pray he finds me away

  • Sheila Baker says:

    Ronald Johnson, I will pray for you and my son. There is no way he could afford to take this drug and I can’t afford to help him. God Bless you both and heal you.

  • Richard White says:

    The government recommends testing of all baby boomers. What about recommending treatment. The insurance got paid until the sickness debilitated me $2200 a month over $250k over the years now I am supposed to pay insurance again. This is not a time for me to pray and be passive or listen to the Government. It’s time to find a way to get MONEY MONEY MONEY it’s all that matter’s in the USA. GET MONEY OR DIE Trying

  • Jesus Kornis III says:

    $84000!!!! Ridiculous exploitation of supply and demand.

  • Esam Elsafty says:

    anybody knows if insurance gonna pay for the cure? BCBS insurance?

  • Angelo says:

    You people are really uneducated when it comes to seeing how real things work. Do you know how many billions it cost the drug company to get a drug approved and go through the clinical trials, the FDA etc. Never mind EMPLYING thousands of people while doing it. They are a business and there existince is to make a PROFIT not give away the bank.
    With that said everytime a drug company came out with a new hep c drug they have a number, website etc you can call to get free drugs if you are poor enough. BUT, you have to pay your own doctor visits, blood work etc.

    • Richard White says:

      I have applied to gilead for there coupon program covers 20% but they haven’t responded. I think gilead paid 11 billion to get the drug several years ago. I advised my friends and family to invest my father in law did last year and is happy with the doubling of his investment.I found this drug on the wall street reports years ago. I have been paying for all my medical bills without any aid or extortion from insurance. I had a liver biop scheduled that I had to cancel for lack of funds. I am trying to get fast track treatment on a poor mans budget and the total price is about 100k in the U$A so thanx for your insight

      • Richard White says:

        I forgot to say that I applied for gileads coupon program last week. and I don’t like your uneducated comment. If you want to be all smart find something else to boost your ego. Some of us are very sick and find the task of getting treatment difficult enough. I like profit too after all. I am a patriot of the U$A my relatives fought with general Washington to found the U$A and many of them profited as did I until I got sick then extorted to the brink of bankruptcy. Life in the U$A Inc. is expensive and profitable It’s our patriotic duty to be Profitable U$A citizens

    • s.vose says:

      I am not sure just which of us is the most ignorant … you or me! anyone who makes such a blatant statement is exposing a level of ignorance (intolerance and indifference) that is leaving no doubt about YOU ignorance. What is at stake here is not just how much the manufacturers spend to develop this (hopefully) useful drug, but for us, their test subjects, it may be the ONLY hope we have. I for one, have some serious doubts about the promises of such profound success on any drug “expedited” through the FDA trials. Somehow, I do not think either the drug company or the FDA was thinking about the big picture. Truth is, if it DOES work, it will help slow down if not STOP this costly disease. The larger the pool of patients (guinea pigs) the more reliable the evaluation of this drug. It is expedited to get it on the store shelves, but from then on, the goal is to milk as much out of it as they can before the failings become evident and the entire house of cards comes tumbling down.

      You are one very poor spokesperson for their cause. I’m guessing you are not one who will be having to try to come up with the money for the only real hope we have for now.

  • Dillion says:

    EAsy folks. Let’s keep our eyes on the real enemy. Don’t underestimate the Power either. I say get treated, but there are also those so spontaneously healed. No magic, just God. Their immune system was able to rid them of the virus. This, usually during acute infection stage. My point….faith moves mountains, but you better bring a shovel.

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