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Giving Hope to Hepatitis Infected

By Ekaterine Tchelidze
Monday, January 13
Hepatitis C is a growing problem in Georgia, so the government continues to implement critical measures in order to decrease the number of infected.

According to last year’s predictions, the price of the medicines will decrease on 60% by July 1st 2014, allowing approximately 10,000 patients to access Hepatitis C antiviral treatment.

A new discount price will constitute to 158, 67 GEL ($92,88 USD), positioning Georgia on a leading place, after Egypt, among countries, holding the lowest price on PegINF medicine in the world.

All infected citizens will be able to purchase the medicine based on a special agreement provided by the Social Services Agency. The registration for the medicines will start from Feb 1, 2014.

In addition, the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs will fully finance the prevention effort and treatment of 1,000 convicts as well. The first phase of the Hepatitis C Prevention, Diagnostics and Treatment Program for prisoners is already in progress.

Voluntary counseling sessions for jailed females, who became the second group of infected to receive access to free treatment after the sentenced-for-life prisoners, is already underway. The second phase of the Treatment Program will take place on March 1st 2014. This step will include a thorough study of the virus, as well as treatment of about 1,000 patients, selected based on medical criteria designed for inclusion.

The ministry signed a two-year agreement with beneficiaries from the civil center of Georgia allowing purchase of medicines at a discount price.

Initially, there will be about 6,000 units of PegINF available, which is going to be enough to start the treatment for 750 patients. The amount of medicine will eventually increase in order to make it available for all registered patients.

All infected citizens will be able to purchase the medicines in drugstores in Tbilisi, Kutaisi and Batumi.