SPAIN’S health ministry has reached an agreement with the drug company which manufactures the only known cure for Hepatitis C in order to be able to offer it to patients free of charge.
The drug Sofosbuvir, retailed under the brand name Sovaldi, has a 95% cure rate but the pharmaceutical corporation in Germany wanted to charge 60,000 euros for each course of the medication.
This meant is has been prohibitively expensive and Spain has been unable to provide it on the national health system, meaning doctors could not prescribe it to patients infected with Hepatitis C.
But minister Ana Mato (pictured) has managed to agree a price which would make it affordable for Spain’s public funds, and expects the drug to be available on the health service byWednesday next week, October 1.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), viral hepatitis is one of the most serious illnesses on the planet and claims around 1.4 million lives a year.
It is estimated that in Spain, as many as 75% of Hepatitis C sufferers do not know they have the disease.
Experts believe that at least half of all Hepatitis C sufferers will have liver cirrhosis by the year 2030.
Mato was driven in her quest to make the medication available after a patient, José Manuel Culebras, who is in the later stages of liver degeneration caused by Hepatitis C, raised a petition on the campaign site Change.org.
He said he is ‘thrilled’ with the news that the drug will soon be available.