Cost of treating all Canadians who have hepatitis C

The cost of treating all 250,000 Canadians who are infected with hepatitis would be $20 – 32 billion, according to Dr. Brian Goldman.

Goldman’s radio show, White Coat, Black Arts has often critiqued the high cost of drugs in Canada. On CBC radio’s On the Coast afternoon show last week, he cited the bottom-rung cost for today’s antiviral cures as $55,000 for an eight-week regimen. Often the treatment time is longer and the cost is higher.

Nonetheless, Canadians are getting a bargain–a relative one, that is. Canada’s falling dollar has ramped up the cost of food, clothing and other necessities, yet the cost antivirals for hepatitis C has remained high but stable.


Hepatitis C: 2015 in review

Many thanks to all of you who visited in 2015. It was a year of huge advances in hepatitis C treatment. Gilead tested short-duration antiviral treatments for all genotypes. An under-the-tongue swab test for hep C antibodies was also under development.

Meanwhile, insurance companies and governments throughout the world negotiated lower drug prices, opening doors for more people to be treated.

The outlook is promising for continuing advances in the new year. May you have a healthful and happy one.

Incidentally, if you’d like to know who read this blog in 2015, here’s a report from WordPress:

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 22 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Pamela Anderson and a three-week cure for hepatitis C

Pamela Anderson was cured of hepatitis C after a 15-year infection. (pubic domain photo)

Pamela Anderson was cured of hepatitis C after a 15-year infection. (pubic domain photo)

Baywatch star Pamela Anderson reported this week that her hepatitis C is gone.

Presumably, the Baywatch star’s cure came from an advanced antiviral combination. Currently, the most widely used is Harvoni. Most patients take it for 12 weeks.

Brenda Goodman announced Pamela’s good news in WebMD and reported that a three-week cure may be coming. That would be very good news.

Baywatch ran from 1989 to 1999 and morphed into Baywatch Hawaii.

Hepatitis C manuscript goes to publisher

As I raced for a few weeks to finish the manuscript of The Miracle Cure (tentative title), I was away from this blog. I just submitted the text to the publisher, and I’m back.

As the book heads toward publication in fall 2016, I’ll be updating it with new information about hepatitis C . Until then, if any of you who are reading this blog have news or opinions about hep C topics, please comment. This blog is open to everyone–and so is the book.

Florida mapTomorrow I’ll be flying to Florida for R, R & R. The third R is for research. I’ll be talking to my sister, whose daughter (my niece) was denied hep C treatment four times by her insurance company. The book will tell the story. I hope that as my book is being edited there will be a promising conclusion. Please stay tuned.

World Hepatitis Day Webcase can be heard in California and everywhere

 I was asked whether any events will be happening in California tomorrow to mark World Hepatitis Day. I haven’t been able to find any. However, the California Hepatitis C Task Force is reminding everyone to listen to a live webcast at 7 a.m. PDT from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at
I’m sure the message will give people a lot to think about.

Found another criticism of the hep C scenes on Wentworth

A reader, Deb, commented that she hopes there is a loud outcry in Britain about Wentworth’s portrayal of people who have hep C. I hunted through the internet and found just one other blog besides AfterEllen that is critical of the show’s implications about hep. The blog is called Jo’s Voice .

Blogger Jo Soucek, whom I believe  is Australian, says Wentworth is right to create awareness of hepatitis C, but the show should get its facts straight. The facts include that lots of good people contract hep. TV watchers should keep in mind that fiction can differ wildly from facts.TV watching

Wentworth not hep about hep C

Last night I was watching the Netflix series Wentworth. The show focuses on inmates at a seedy women’s prison in Australia. The series’ plot is riveting but unfortunately, it spreads inaccurate and stereotypical information about hepatitis C.

In Season 2, during a prison riot, a  hep-infected prisoner attacks prison guard Vera with a hep C-infected syringe. In Season 3 the viewer learns that Vera has come down with hep. Then Liz, a long-term con, tries to protect her daughter Sophie from three huge butch women who attack her as she cowers in a shower stall. The women imply they are infected with hepatitis C and will give it to Sophie through lesbian rape (pretty much an impossibility).

The show perpetrates the message that people with hep C are likely to be evil. TV critic Elaine Atwell, in the blog AfterEllen, says the show portrays hepatitis C as “a disease of which the first symptom is apparently soul rot.” Vera the jittery, diminutive guard falls into that stereotype. She has murdered her mother.

In addition to unacceptable characterization of hep patients in the series, I noticed factual problems about the disease itself. These include a blurred line between acute and chronic hep (Vera appears to have both), and Vera’s treatment, which seems to be a pack of huge white pills that she takes at odd times to quell nausea. As for the way the series perpetrates the stigma of hepatitis C, the producers and writers should think twice and learn the facts about this disease. Not just prisoners come down with hepatitic C. Millions of very nice people, including many of their viewers, do too.

Blog writer (me) writes a post for another hep C blog

I just wrote a post for this blog: The blog covers diagnosis, treatment, symptoms, and how to deal with life when you have hep. I’ve taught workshops on writing plain English, and I was impressed by the writing in It explains the complexities of hepatitis C in clear, concise language. There are hundreds of hep C blogs out there. This one is worth reading.

Chinese Medicine and hepatitis C

I just spoke with an amazing woman from San Francisco. Misha Cohen is an acupuncturist and practitioner of Chinese Medicine. Misha studied acupuncture at Lincoln Hospital in New York City and went on to study in San Francisco and establish a practice there. She wrote The Hepatitis C Help Book with Dr. Robert Gish, hepatologist and recipient of a Humanitarian of the Year award for his work with Vietnamese people infected with hepatitis B.

Misha advocates a combination of Western and Eastern medicine for dealing with hepatitis C. “It takes a very strong medicine to clear the virus,” she says, and there’s no conclusive evidence that herbs or other alternative medicine can do it. She advises hep C patients to proceed with anti-viral treatment through accomplished hepatologists.

In addition, she says, it’s tremendously helpful for patients to follow Chinese methods while undergoing treatment and after the virus is cleared. Chinese medicine can improve blood circulation through the liver and can calm the patient, she says. This can help a virus-cleared liver to regenerate. Also, Chinese medicine could help stabilize a cirrhotic liver after treatment, she says.

“I think we can help a substantial number of people,” she says, but adds that she can only guide her patients toward better health. “They are doing a huge amount of work on their own. Every single day of their lives.”

I found just talking to Misha helpful. My virus has been cleared, but I have to live with my liver for the rest of my life. Chinese medicine could make it longer.

Check out Doc Misha’s Chicken Soup Chinese Medicinechicken soup