The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), the leading organization of scientists and health care professionals committed to preventing and curing liver disease, calls on Congress to adopt legislation to allocate funds to eliminate hepatitis C. Improved access to testing stands to relieve the burden of hepatitis C, by increasing identification of those with the disease. This could potentially reduce the rates of other liver diseases such as cancer and cirrhosis, as a result. Thousands die from hepatitis C every year, which is even more disappointing given that a transformative oral therapy exists that cures over 95 percent of patients in 8 to 12 weeks. AASLD amassed a coalition of over 120 stakeholders representing organizations from across the country to elevate the severity of this disease to Congress, with the aim of demonstrating the support for eliminating hepatitis C.
Since 2014, the Veterans Health Administration has used this innovative testing and treatment for more than 92,000 veterans, which led to an over 90% cure rate. Two of the key learnings from their success were the importance of helping veterans secure medications for a reasonable price and same-day testing and assisting those with hepatitis C to get care.
“It is unconscionable that millions of Americans continue to be affected by what is now a treatable disease,” said AASLD President Norah Terrault, MD, MPH, FAASLD. “The hepatology community sees the impact of missed opportunities to treat hepatitis C regularly – with untreated individuals progressing to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Barriers to testing and treatment must be removed to prevent people from needlessly suffering and dying.”
AASLD applauds the White House's bold leadership for including $12.3 billion in its budget proposal that would create a plan to enable the development of a point-of-care diagnostic, enact a national subscription model for hepatitis C medications, and expand the infrastructure needed to reach, test, and treat all affected individuals.
“AASLD strongly supports the White House’s robust plan to defeat hepatitis C,” said AASLD CEO, Matthew D’Uva. “AASLD is excited to continue working with patient organizations to make this plan a reality. We will continue working with our partners in Congress and the administration to create a plan that can live up to the promise of hepatitis C elimination.”
AASLD is the leading organization of clinicians and researchers committed to preventing and curing liver disease. The work of our members has laid the foundation for the development of drugs used to treat patients with viral hepatitis. Access to care and support of liver disease research are at the center of AASLD’s advocacy efforts.