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New Drug Cures Hepatitis C in Record Time
There is now a drug that can cure Hepatitis C in record time. The price tag? About a thousand dollars a pill. An Austin woman is among the first group of patients prescribed to the new treatment.
The pricey pill was approved by the FDA less than six months ago. It's called Sovaldi.
"This is the golden pill. It literally is gold."
The cost is controversial. "It blew me away when I found out how much it actually costs per month," said VanOsselaer.
When used for 12 weeks with ribaviron and interferon, Doctor Todd Sheer at Austin Diagnostic Clinic says it has an 80 to 90 percent cure rate for Hepatitis C.
"Basically it interferes with the replication of the virus," said Sheer.
VanOsselaer believes she contracted the disease as a teenager in the 70s after back surgery.
"I recieved concentrated transfusions around the clock because I have a bleeding disorder, so I recieved blood from hundreds of blood donors," said VanOsselaer.
"The baby boomer generation has a five times greater likelihood of having Hepatitis C than any other birth cohort," said Sheer.
Like millions of others, VanOsselaer lived with Hepatitis C for 30 years before ever knowing.
"I started feeling the symptoms about four years ago. I started feeling lousy, really fatigued, lost my appetite," said VanOsselaer.
Sheer put her on the Sovaldi-based treatment as quick as he could.
"I think it is a big medical breakthrough in the field of Hepatitis C, never before have we had such an effective medication," said Sheer.
If it weren't for her insurance, VanOsselaer says she couldn't have afforded it.
"It costs us about $200/month because we're really fortunate because our insurance company pays. The actual cost is more like $35,000/month for the three medications together."
Three months later, the virus is undetectable.
"This is the best news I can hope for," said VanOsselaer. "This is what I wanted."
If the virus goes undetected for six months post-treatment, Sheer says VanOsselaer will be considered cured.
By Deeda Payton