The Malta Independent 22 February 2018, Thursday

Strategy for elimination of Hepatitis C launched

Joanna Demarco Wednesday, 14 February 2018, 10:36 Last update: about 7 days ago

The national strategy for the elimination of the hepatitis C virus was launched this morning.

Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis C virus, and is one of the main causes of chronic liver disease worldwide.

Speaking at the launch, Health Minister Chris Fearne said the plan is to completely eradicate the virus from Malta by the year 2025, which would then make Malta one of the only countries worldwide to eradicate it.

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Over 1,000 persons in Malta have Hepatitis C, who have had little hope of cure so far, according to Fearne.

€75 000 was spent per person infected by the virus on the medicine, Fearne said, adding that it was not given by the government as it was too expensive to be purchased for all, and was only given to priority patients. He said that negotiations have been underway to purchase new medicinal treatments for a "reasonable price" and patients will start receiving treatment for free.

The minister said an early diagnosis and screening for high-risk groups will also be introduced.

Fearne added that the government would pay the suppliers for patients who had been cured completely.

Sacha Reiff, who also addressed those present, said that the medicine currently available in Malta for the virus has many side effects. He said that currently, four patients are sent abroad annually for treatment.

The free treatment will look ser to the cure of 200 people annually, treating everyome eventually.

The consultation will be open for the next 30 days.


 

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