Published September 23, 2019 / All Stories
Despite decades of work and hundreds of millions of dollars spent, eliminating hepatitis C in the United States remains a frustratingly elusive goal. And as the number of new hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections spikes in young Americans,1 the consequences of failing to stop this infectious disease in the U.S. looms large. In fact, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2012 the number of deaths associated with hepatitis C surpassed that of 60 other nationally notifiable infectious conditions that are routinely reported to the CDC.2
Now, AbbVie and the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) are embarking on an ambitious mission with the shared goal of eliminating* HCV within an entire U.S. state.3 This new public-private model aims to solve a public health paradox that isn’t unique to HCV: the stubborn, persistent challenge of physically locating and helping the most patients in need in the shortest amount of time. For these new partners, overcoming that challenge for thousands of people living with HCV means a unique mix of data technology, innovation and old-fashioned boots-on-the-ground.
“Washington has a clear vision and admirable goals for eliminating hepatitis C, and they’re making an enormous amount of progress on that commitment,” says Michael Staff, vice president of U.S. market access for AbbVie. “But hepatitis C is a public health problem that’s just too big and complex to go it alone.”
Chronic, untreated infections may progress to liver failure, liver cancer or even death. Fortunately, HCV can be cured.† Unfortunately, a bewildering array of roadblocks obstruct the path to a cure, including stigma, low public awareness, lack of commitment, and little understanding about how easily patients can slip through the cracks of even the most comprehensive health care system.