The Hepatitus C Challenge

An estimated 150-180 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C, many unaware they are infected because the initial stages have no symptoms.  Up to 500,000 die every year.  Manufacturers of new hepatitis C medicines are likely to offer the poorest countries a less expensive version.  But according to the Lancet medical journal, pharmaceutical firms will not offer discounts to middle-income countries they regard as emerging markets, where about 75% of people with hepatitis C live.  For this reason, a diverse alliance of countries – Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Moldova and South Africa – sponsored a resolution at a recent meeting of the World Health Organisation, urging the international community to act quickly on hepatitis.

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