David E. Miller: New hepatitis C treatments save lives, reduce expensive complications

"If Illinois expands access to new hepatitis C medicines, it not only will save lives and relieve untold patient suffering, it dramatically will reduce long-term health care costs resulting from this awful disease."

After decades of research and clinical trials, we have new cures for hepatitis C, the most prevalent and deadliest blood-borne viral disease in the United States.

Until now, hepatitis C treatments have been long, painful and even life-threatening, with low cure rates of 40 to 65 percent. Consequently, up to 85 percent of patients discontinue treatment before they finish.

Still, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services set tight restrictions on innovative hepatitis C treatments. Only patients with the highest degree of liver damage who meet a set of 25 criteria can have access.

- See more at: http://www.sj-r.com/article/20150305/OPINION/150309693/2011/OPINION#sthash.e3ELmAZa.dpuf

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