Barriers to access to hepatitis C treatment
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. Only 1%–30% of patients in need of treatment may get it. In recent years, the availability of direct-acting antiviral agents (DAA) has been an important advancement in treating HCV infection. However, due to cost, it is not possible to receive these drugs in many countries where infection is endemic. In these low- and middle-income countries, the main barriers to controlling HCV infection are lack of knowledge about the infection, constraints on diagnostic testing and treatment, and lack of experts. Both national and international support are essential to overcoming these barriers. In low- and middle-income countries, interferon and ribavirin-based therapies still are the first choices due to their availability and to government payment support. In addition, in developed countries, efforts to provide lower-cost DAA drugs continue. Pharmaceutical companies continue to research manufacture of bio-equivalent drugs to reduce treatment costs. Considering the fake drug market, all developments need to be monitored closely by the institutions involved. This review focuses on barriers to hepatitis C treatment and ways to overcome those barriers.
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