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Stop “Silent Epidemic”: Research-based Pharmaceutical Industry Report Supports Comprehensive Approach to Viral Hepatitis

May 20, 2014

GENEVA, May 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –

The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations
[http://www.ifpma.org ] (IFPMA) has published today a new report and recommendations on
Hepatitis, encouraging a comprehensive approach to fighting this silent epidemic. Titled
“Towards a Sustainable, Intersectoral Approach to Viral Hepatitis
[http://www.ifpma.org/fileadmin/content/Publication/2014/IFPMA_Viral_Hepatitis_May2014.pdf ]
“, the report is meant to inform the upcoming discussion at the 67th World Health
Assembly.

Hepatitis B and C (HBV, HCV) are devastating viral diseases which are more common than
HIV/AIDS. The virus progresses very slowly over the years. As a result many patients are
unaware they are infected until serious complications emerge. 15-30% of people with
chronic HCV infection will develop cirrhosis; HCV is the major cause of liver cancer.
Viral hepatitis is responsible for 1.6 million deaths each year causing individual
suffering and putting a huge cost to society in terms of lost productivity and cost of
healthcare services.

“We have devoted substantial efforts to developing prevention and treatment options
and are making all necessary efforts to bring up solutions that further increase cure
rates and reduce treatment duration and toxicity” – says Eduardo Pisani, IFPMA Director
General. “However, treatment is only part of the picture. Experience our industry gained
through health partnerships [http://partnerships.ifpma.org/pages ] in low- and
middle-income countries makes it clear that to address hepatitis we need a comprehensive
approach that combines research, prevention, screening and care. We need to act together
to stop this silent epidemic,” Pisani adds.

While 95% of HBV patients could be treated and 90% of HCV patients potentially cured,
at most 20% and 2-3% of them respectively receive adequate treatment. IFPMA’s Report
[http://www.ifpma.org/fileadmin/content/Publication/2014/IFPMA_Viral_Hepatitis_May2014.pdf ]
contributes to the global health discussion on the best way of fighting the epidemic. It
recommends a comprehensive approach to:

        - Raise awareness and improve the understanding of viral hepatitis and
          prevention methods, both among health professionals and individuals (including also
          prevention of nosocomial transmission and special focus on vulnerable high-risk
          groups).
        - Continue implementing vaccination programmes against HBV.
        - Collect reliable data on the epidemiology and burden of viral hepatitis.
        - Improve funding and availability of screening to help patients seek early
          diagnosis and improved funding for treatment programmes.
        - Develop comprehensive care networks with embedded standards of care.
        - Leverage existing HIV infrastructure to improve detection and treatment rates
          for co-infected people.

SOURCE International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations


Source: PR Newswire



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