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PM says 20,000 patients will receive free Hepatitis C treatment in 2016

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, March 8
Georgia’s Prime Minister (PM) Giorgi Kvirikashvili stated that 20,000 Hepatitis C patients will receive free treatment this year and allegedly undergo a 100 percent recovery thanks to a revolutionary medicine, Harvoni, freely provided by an American pharmaceutical firm, Gilead.

When meeting with Hepatitis C patients on March 7, Kvirikashvili highlighted that last year more than 7,000 infected people received free treatment and 3,000 had already completed the course with a 90% recovery rate.

Kvirikashvili thanked Georgia’s Ministry of Health Labour and Social Affairs, the nation's doctors, the Gilead company and the US Embassy to Georgia for their efforts in the struggle against the illness.

The PM also thanked those patients involved in the special programme.

The new medicine has already been imported in bulk to Georgia.

Gilead gave the medicine to Georgia free of charge following a memorandum signed between the company and Georgia’s Health Ministry.

Typically, Harvoni cost €110,000 per person for one course of treatment.

During the first stage of the Hepatitis C elimination programme in 2015 Georgia, used Gilead’s medicine Sofosbuvir, also free of charge.

Harvoni is a new Hepatitis C medication combining Sofosbuvir and Ledipasvir, providing nearly a 100% cure, Georgia’s Minister of Health, Labour and Social Affairs Davit Sergeenko said.

The Hepatitis C virus infects an estimated 130–150 million people globally and results in an estimated 700,000 deaths.

Georgia had one of the highest estimated virus prevalence rates in the world, affecting 6.7 percent of the population.

However, through the public-private partnership between the US and Georgian governments, along with Gilead, Georgia is on its way to make history and completely eliminate Hepatitis C from the country.