'If you have money, you’ll live. If you don’t, you’ll die': B.C.'s Hepatitis C sufferers hope for fast drug approval

About 80,000 British Columbians and 250,000 Canadians have Hep C, which can cause liver failure or cancer

A new drug touted as a miracle cure for Hepatitis C is available in B.C., but the costly treatment isn’t covered by PharmaCare.

“There’s so many people suffering from Hep C. I’m hoping the government will approve it and speed up the approval process,” said Josephreen Luk, whose 60-year-old mother-in-law contracted the virus in 1983 from a tainted blood transfusion. She was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis in June, and is a “sitting duck” for liver cancer, according to an assessment by her doctor.

Dr. Peter Kwan believes How Ching Chan will have little success with current regimens and prescribed a 24-week course of Sovaldi as her best hope. The $100,000 cost will have to be shouldered by Chan’s private insurance company or, if the claim isn’t approved, by Chan’s family remortgaging their home.


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